if we were birds
Written by Erin Shields
Produced at SummerWorks '08 (Winner: Jury Prize for Outstanding Production), and in Association with Tarragon Theatre '10.
Directed by Alan Dilworth
Starring Philippa Domville, David Fox, Barbara Gordon, Stephanie Jung, Daniela Lama, Shannon Perreault, Geoffrey Pounsett, Karen Robinson and Tara Rosling
Set and Costume Design by Jung-Hye Kim
Lighting Design by Kim Purtell
Sound and Composition Thomas Ryder Payne
Movement Coach: Allyson McMackon
Fight Direction by Simon Fon
Stage Manager: Kristen Kitcher
Assistant Stage Manager: Shelby-Jai Donkers
Assistant Director: Kristina Nicoll
(SummerWorks cast and crew included Edwige Jean-Pierre, Rose Cortez, Ieva Lucs, Monica Dotter, Scott Seetoo and Courtney Brown)
If We Were Birds is a riveting re-imagining of Ovid’s masterpiece “Tereus, Procne and Philomela”. When King Pandion marries his daughter Procne off to war hero King Tereus, Procne returns with him to Thrace and is separated from her beloved sister Philomela. After years of isolation in a foreign land, Procne begs Tereus to fetch her sister for a visit. When confronted with Philomela’s beauty, Tereus’ desire triumphs over reason igniting a chain of horrific events. A harrowing exploration of violence and revenge, this adaptation features a chorus of ravaged women, each a victim of a 20th Century conflict: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Nanking, and Berlin.
(4 stars)"In her stunning new play If We Were Birds, Erin Shields stares down one of those truths with feet firmly planted and stomach strongly girded... In a wryly poetic style, Shields channels her rage at the brutality inflicted on women in wars over the past century into this ancient tale. That she does so without ever dehumanizing the male perpetrators or losing sight of the fact that she is telling a specific, gripping, gruesome story is what is impressive."
- Globe & Mail, J. Kelly Nestruck
"This is remarkably unforced, ancient myth and modern reality illuminating one another, as they're always supposed to but very rarely do. "
- Robert Cushman, National Post
DORA AWARD NOMINEE: Outstanding Production, Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Performance by A Female (Winner), Outstanding Sound Design (Winner)
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