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Bird is the word

DSC_0122U of R Theatre Department’s production of The Birds underway

Paul Bogdan
A&C Editor

It won’t be long before we start to see birds migrating back here from the south. But, if you’ve been hanging around the theatre department lately, you will have noticed no shortage of feathers, as performances of the Aristophanes classic, The Birds, have begun.

Despite being over two thousand years old, The Birds is nonetheless “a timeless piece,” and Canadian playwright Yvette Nolan’s adaptation helps to modernize the work. The story is that two people flee from Toronto because they can’t stand the city anymore, and they head off to the utopian land of the birds. But like any perfect situation, humans tend to screw things up.

“It is a utopia, and like all good utopias, man tends to want to make them better,” said Kenn McLeod, who is directing the play.

Other than being a foundational piece in the dramatic canon, this production of The Birds will feature an emphasis on the style of physical theatre, where, along with memorizing lines and stage directions, “handstands are part of our daily practice.”

“The majority of the work that I’ve been doing and have been training in and working with on the show is all physical theatre, so a lot of acrobatics, some clown and masque and those forms of theatre,” McLeod said.

McLeod, a U of R theatre department alumnus, was chosen to direct this play for his expertise in physical theatre.


“It is a utopia, and like all good utopias, man tends to want to make them better.” -Kenn McLeod


“I was asked to come back and work on this piece because I do physical theatre, and this was an opportunity to train and teach the students in those forms and have a production that was deeply rooted in that style,” McLeod said.

And, despite the looks on students’ faces as paper and project due dates loom, McLeod said he’s glad to be back at the U of R campus.

“It’s great to have an opportunity to work on a piece of theatre with some of my old colleagues and old professors from when I was here and a whole bunch of new people who I’ve never met before,” he said.

The production also features an elaborate set with high scaffolding as a means of “bring[ing] a lot of verticality to the piece given that it’s a play about the birds,” McLeod said. But, creating something like this wasn’t a simple task by any means.

“It’s not easy to take a drawing and turn it into a reality … they take a drawing and turn it into a place where actors can safely stand and not plummet to their death.”

Performances for The Birds began on March 13 and run until March 16 with all showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for adults are $15, student and senior tickets are $10, and admission is free for anyone with a valid U of R student ID.

Arts Roundtable

March 15
Pass the Hat
The Club
Donations
Doors at 8 PM

The FAPS, Vivisepulture, One Time Twice, and Galactic Funk
The German Club
$5 at the door
Doors at 8 p.m.

The Jack Semple Band
The Artesian
$25 advance/door price
Doors at 7 p.m.

March 16
Tinsel Trees w/The Spoils
The Exchange
$10 at the door
Doors at 8 p.m.

March 18
Electric Six w/The Matinee
The Exchange
$18 advanced tickets
Doors at 8 p.m.

March 20
Combat Improv
The Artesian
$5 at the door
Show at 8 p.m.

March 21
Fly Points, The Dead South, and Eden Rohatensky
The Exchange
$10 at the door
Doors at 7:30 p.m.

Photo by Paul Bogdan

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