That's how actor Brandon Wilson warms up his newly acquired Irish accent, which he uses in director Sheri Lee Miller's production of The Weir, opening this weekend at Main Stage West.
"I've never done an Irish accent in a play before," he says. "I'm feeling pretty comfortable with it now, but I have found that the best way to warm up is by reciting tongue twisters in an Irish accent."
In the award-winning play by Conor McPherson, a group of friends, all men, meet in an Irish pub. In an attempt to impress a young woman, they begin to tell stories of the supernatural: ghosts, fairies, graveyards. Eventually, the woman tells a story of her own, changing forever how everyone sees her, and themselves.
Wilson, viewed as a rising star in the local theater community, had never heard of The Weir until he was asked to play Jimmy. "I love this character," he says. "He's very talkative with his pals, but as soon as the young woman shows up, he's silent for most of the rest of the play. And then suddenly, he lets loose with this story, out of nowhere. I love it."
Also featuring John Craven, Keith Baker, Peter Downey and Ilana Niernberger, McPherson's innovative play is essentially plotless, revealing the characters less through action than through the stories they tell. But for all its mention of ghosts and graves, Wilson says The Weir is not a scary play.
"It's not really about the ghost stories," he explains. "The stories are just something that springs up out of the relationships between the characters. The play is about people and the things that haunt them. We are haunted by our own pasts, and our memories, in a way, are their own kind of ghost story."
'The Weir' runs Thursday–Sunday through Nov. 11 at Main Stage West. 104 N. Main St., Sebastopol. Thursday–Saturday at 8pm; 5pm matinees on Sundays. $20–$25. 707.823-0177.