The Birds

by Conor McPherson

Jenny Donovan and Stephanie Mumford.

QTC Archives: 2012-2013 Season

July 12 – August 11, 2013

Conor McPherson’s adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1952 short story “The Birds” must be described in terms of what it is not: while based on du Maurier’s work, it is not the threatening wind from the East (i.e., Russian and Chinese Communism) that provides the terror, nor is it the extended scenes of attacking birds found in Hitchcock’s 1963 film.  Only the character named Nat is found in McPherson’s play, and he is nothing like du Maurier’s Nat Hocken.  McPherson’s Nat is joined by novelist Diane and schoolgirl Julia in an abandoned farmhouse to survive the unexplained attacks of the birds.  All three characters have had their own problems, and now they find themselves in what may be an apocalyptic world where they must forage for the necessities of everyday life while avoiding the avian sorties.  As it becomes clear that they may be among the very few still alive, the core of McPherson’s adaptation takes over.  Rather than detailing horrific attacks, the philosophy major from University College Dublin explores how these three flawed individuals react to a world where there are suddenly no rules.  We all wonder what moral and ethical choices we might make under extreme stress; McPherson provides the audience with a scenario that is both mysterious and shocking.

In 15 brisk, well-acted scenes, Quotidian Theatre Company’s “The Birds” does an efficient job of creeping an audience out — in a good way..

Jane Horwitz, Washington Post – Read the Review

This theatrical version of the well-known classic is a fascinating portrayal of alliance and allegiance when the end of the world seems ominously near, and survival is all that matters.

Debbie Minter Jackson, DC Theatre Scene – Read the Review

I was exceptionally impressed with the script, Sbarbori’s quaint and rustic lake cottage set design, his overall direction of the play, and superb performances by the entire cast.

Jane Coyne, DC Metro Theater Arts – Read the Review

Rather than eliciting outright fear, the play carries a tension that develops between these last survivors of what is presumably an apocalypse. Several classic struggles are addressed: the fear of isolation, the preservation of romantic ideals, and the existential meaning of life. With several surprises and an exciting climax, this show is worth watching. The audience is left not with an immediate feeling of pleasure, but of fascination, a feeling that will leave them contemplating the plot for days afterward.

Nisha Tracy, Broadway World – Read the Review

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