, Salem, MA


January 17, 2013

Theater of the mind

'Shining City' is more than just a ghost story


Like the playwright, O’Meara is Irish, a native of Cork, where he achieved a measure of success singing in a pop band called Thief of Hearts.

“We had a minor chart hit,” he said. “The record took us from local to the national circuit. In Ireland, we were in lots of television shows.”

Starting in the early ’90s, O’Meara appeared in the U.S. with another band, Shoot the Moon, then recorded an album of Celtic music in 2009 that “was extremely well-received and did rather well for me,” he said.

But O’Meara always wanted to try acting and auditioned for Fogle’s production of “Real Thing” after completing a program at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London in 2011.

“There’s an awful lot of acting in singing,” he said. “It is rather a natural progression.”

As a classically trained, interpretive singer, O’Meara relishes the chance to perform well-crafted songs, and he feels the same way about McPherson’s dialogue.

“That’s what it’s all about for me,” he said. “The writing. It’s a powerful piece of work, and his writing leaps from the page.”

Fogle also likes how McPherson captures the way people express themselves, when they are feeling intense psychological pressure.

“His writing is about the patterns of speech, and the content of speech,” Fogle said. He also finds it extremely visual, in a way that audiences should find compelling.

“There is a 10-page monologue in this play,” he said. “As you listen to this guy spill out his guts, you get amazing images. What sounds like it might be too static and dull, most people will find just the opposite. They will get pictures in their minds’ eye that will be wonderful, and personal.”

McPherson’s skill not only creates vivid characters and scenes, but also defines what makes an evening at the theater special, in ways that electronic media rarely match.

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