By the time Conor McPherson had earned his MA in Philosophy (Ethics) at University College Dublin in 1993, he had already written several plays, many staged by the Fly By Night Theatre Company he formed with friends. By 1995, with several local stage successes, McPherson opened This Lime Tree Bower at Dublin’s Crypt Arts Centre, a work which earned both the Meyer-Witworth Award and the George Devine Award for Best New Play. By 1996 Lime Tree moved to the Bush Theatre, London, where it garnered the Thames TV Award and the Guinness/National Theatre Ingenuity Award. The successes of Lime Tree and later St. Nicholas at the Bush led to The Weir at London’s Royal Court Theatre, and before long, success throughout the theatre world.
Those familiar with the plays of Conor McPherson are well aware of the playwright’s interest in ethics. This Lime Tree Bower is shot through with details of the three characters who relate the decisions they made during a strange week at a chipper in a northern suburb of Dublin. What is ethical behavior? Is it what suits the individual or society? This play provides a great deal of information about the choices made by these characters, and I suspect that audience members will quickly arrive at conclusions regarding the decency of each, although the consideration of what the characters could have or should have done will prove to be much more difficult.
Although This Lime Tree Bower is clearly in the tradition of Brien Friel’s Faith Healer and McPherson’s later masterpiece Port Authority, it is unique in that the alternating monologues are enhanced by the fact that the three characters are present and aware of each other throughout the play. This subtle interaction facilitates the audience’s understanding of the moral philosophy of each character.
We are proud to have presented eight plays by Conor McPherson, including three DC Area Premieres (Dublin Carol, Port Authority, The Birds), and a USA Premiere (The Veil). We will make every effort to continue staging McPherson’s work at Quotidian.
THIS LIME TREE BOWER was first produced at the Crypt Arts Centre, Dublin, on September 26, 1995, an Íomhá Ildánach/Fly by Night co-production. The play was subsequently performed at the Bush Theatre, London, from July 3, 1996. It was originally produced in the United States by Primary Stages Company, Casey Childs, Artistic Director, on May 5, 1999.
Our mission at Quotidian Theatre Company is to find truth and beauty in the everyday, presenting plays in an understated, impressionistic style. We are proud to be the Resident Theater Company at our performance space, The Writer’s Center in Bethesda.