Sunday, November 7, 2021

The Birds—Imago Theatre—SE Portland

 

“All the Lonely People,

Where do they all come from…”

    This LIVE production is directed by Jerry Mouawad and produced by Carol Triffle (co-founders of Imago) and adapted for the stage by Connor McPherson from a story by Daphne du Maurier.  It plays through November 20th at Imago’s space, 17 SE 8th Ave. (off Burnside).  Parking can be an issue, so come early.  (Covid protocols in place…vaccine cards, masks required and spaced seating).  For more information, contact them at www.imagotheatre.com or call 503-231-9581.

    If you go expecting to see Hitchcock’s terror-filled film, this is not it, as it’s adapted from the book.  But Hitch did seems to be enamored of  this author, as he did two more film adaptations from this writer, Jamaca Inn in the 30’s with ?Charles Laughlin and, in the 40’s, the award-winning, Rebecca, with Sir Laurence & Joan Fontaine.

    I don’t believe the choice of this play was accidental, either, for this specific time period.  It includes facets of loneliness, fear, isolation, paranoia, angst, depression, and visions of Nature’s rebellion, as if it were just trying to “eat us up” for all the ills we have inflicted on this good earth…as stewards of it, we seemed to have failed miserably!  Theme sound familiar in this day and age when we are faced with a number of real-days wraths of Nature?!

    The characters include a drifter, Nat (Matt Dibiasio), who is picked up by Diane, an author and Narrator, at times, of the story (Melissa Jean Swenson), and together they break into an abandoned home in a rural part of a small coastal town.  It seems the entire county, and perhaps, country, are being besieged by birds of all varieties and are bent on destruction.

    Soon they are joined by a mysterious, young, hippie-like girl from the village, Julia (Elizabeth Rees).  And so an uneasy bond is formed, to avoid the pecking invaders.  Oddly, they feel as if hiding or running from the furious, feathered fiends, but not fighting back, is the answer, as if these agents of our society have already accepted their inevitable fate! 

    But then, one more characteris briefly added to this motley crew, Tierney (Paul Bright), a resident of the rural village, who seems to have captured the essence of the birds’ rebellion.  To give you too much more information, would ruin elements that the audience should discover, so I’ll leave it to you to see this exciting and insightful production.

    Another note, the pecking by the birds on these intrepid travelers is nerve-wracking, thanks to the sound design by Myrrh Larsen and bird puppeteers, Nate FitzSimons and Elise Erickson.  The cast, too, is uniformly fine, keeping us on our toes as too …are these folks really who we think they are…?

    Especially noteworthy, I thought, is Rees, as the young outsider.  She has a quirky, offsetting way of presenting her role, which keeps you guessing as to who she really is, even after the play is over.  A revealing performance and hope to see more of her onstage in the future.

    Mouawad again has done a masterful job of bringing us a topical subject and entertaining us, as well as asking us to think about who we are really.  I’ve always enjoyed everyone of Imago’s productions, even if I didn’t fully understand them…they always pepper my imagination with possibilities…

    And watch for another production by this very inventive author in December, a ghost story for the holidays, Shining City.

                                                    I highly recommend this production.

--DJS









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