"The Birds" is an intricate fusion of filmic structure, uniquely theatrical ideologies, reversals of expectations and a sort of "split-screen" of emotional exploration.
Deep in the center of this famed little town called Hollywood, I made my way to the McCadden Place Theatre to see the west coast premiere of 'The Birds'. Like most theatres, the lobby was small, but as I entered, I was immediately transported to the world of The Birds'. Joel Daavid's set design was incredible and Bosco Flanagan's lighting was mesmerizing and dramatic, giving the look many dimensions. Both captured the energy and vibe of the story in an extremely clever way. It was like walking into a themed Disneyland production, and I mean that in a good way. It took you to another place, and as you stepped into it, you knew you were going for a ride.
And quite a ride it was. The play takes us on two journeys simultaneously and intrinsically.
Seemingly innocent little birds
Director Kelly Ann Ford explains 'David Certa has created a piece that give me two worlds to explore: The theatrical and the cinematic. He has turned the world of the movie upside down into a place where I can explore an extreme comedic, non-naturalistic and stylized form that is pure theatre through and through. At the same time, he has provided the world behind the scenes of the movie, where I can delve into the absurd yet realistic aspects of the tragic-drama that went into the making of the film. This part of the work is grounded in a realism-based acting style more akin to what we're used to seeing in the movie theatre. These two worlds challenge the versatility and craft of the actors and myself on every level. This kind of work is a rush to perform because 1) it's not easy and 2) because it requires us to have enormous faith in our audience to suspend their disbelief and join us on the ride - both scary and thrilling prospects for any artist."
Tense moments...What's that sound?
The cast that worked together so succinctly, their physicality, movement in their use of the space and their ability to navigate the text and double story, added an extra entertaining element.
"The Birds" birds Maria Tomas and Lori Evans Taylor
Another glorious element that made it such an enjoyable experience was Lori Evans Taylor in the role of Tippie. Her comedic range, solid acting talents, and her ability to navigate two simultaneous stories within a story flawlessly made it worth the price of admission alone. She kept me with her on her journey, experiencing it as she was. That's the best you can hope for. Besides all this, she performed physical stunts like an expert. This girl is a pro's pro.
Maria Tomas was a dynamo of husky-voiced energy, very multi-fasceted within her character. She made it great fun.
Last but definitely not least was the amazing sound design by Dino Andrade, which within itself, formed the story, the drama, the emotions and gave this piece added dimension to make it a total experience. It was rich and generous and completed this work of art, down to the same mechanical seagull sounds used in the original film.
Eric Bunton, Lori Evans Taylor, Brett Hren, and director Kelly Ann Ford
This cast does a masterful job, taking the audience on a fun and artistic experience, including Bret Hren, playing the handsomely wicked Mitch, Eric Bunton (Lydia), Darcy Halsey (Camille), Randi Pareira (Mrs. Bundy), Maria Mouhibian (Peggy Robinson), Patrik Carlok (Mrs. MacGruder), Kim Estes (Birdman), Kendall Linzee (Sam), hilarious Hal Perry (Cathy Brenner), Link Hand (Mike), Maureen Darosa, and Shelby Kyle...thank you all for entertaining us so well.
This is a SpyAnts Production. They formed in 2000, and are known for sold-out, highly successful shows. The Los Angeles Times wrote "...the hopes are high for this group because their passion for the theatre hits all the right notes"...and I wholeheartedly agree. The SpyAnts are committed to serving the community by providing quality theatre and continually being involved with local organizations. Having a non-profit status, they have been able to raise money for organizations such as Glaad, Project Angel Food, AIDS Project L.A., and AIDS Ride L.A. They are currently working with The Hollywood and Long Beach Boys and Girls Club on developing an after school theater troup that will lead to the production of several plays. Visit www.thespyants.com
"The Birds" runs from July 29th through August 28th, Thursday thru Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 2:00 p.m. For tickets to "The Birds" call: (323) 860-8786