The Birds is an adaptation of Aristophanes' comedy made for residents of the Hebrew Home for the Aged. The play follows the story of two Athenians searching for a perfect city who, out of desperation, move in with a flock of birds. What appears to be an absurd premise sets the stage for a real meditation on status, colonialism, and the slow work of healing old wounds. The adaptation asks us to consider how we hold space for both grief and hope while navigating the complexities that accompany creating and settling in a shared, new community. In the same utopian spirit as the story, the production proposes a vision of live performance that, through formal devices such as choruses, ego supports and rhyme, considers physical and emotional needs at its core.
Developed with residents of the Hebrew Home and drama therapists Barbara Kaynan, Kate DelPizzo and Hanna Rosenberg.
Commissioned by the NYU Drama Therapy as Performance Department
NYU Black Box Theatre, New York, 2017
November 7, 9, 12, 2017
Hebrew Home for the Aged, New York, 2017
November 15, 16, 2017
An excerpt from the play:
King Terus: what’s it like being a bird?
For starters, we don’t have purses.
Well….that takes care of thieves.
In the summer we only eat myrtleberries, and in the winter, white sesame seeds.
It’s a very simple life. Too simple for humans I reckon.
That’s it! That’s what we should do! Join the birds. And make our own city
And it would be good for you.
If we settled there, and turned the sky into a proper state— humans would really rethink the birds.
What do you mean?
People would see you as powerful as you are
As creatures who see far into the past and future
Who predict storms and seasons
No one would think to put a bird in a cage
No more chicken dinners!
No more saying “flighty as a bird” or “dumb as a dodo”
People would look up to the sky and just say “God danngggg”
Photo of actors in rehearsal, led by Kate DelPizzo