—Since its sell-out premiere in 2016 in Greece, it’s been performed to resounding success in several different parts of the world. “With its sold-out shows, New Yorkers gave (the play) a standing ovation. The Birds has become part of conversations on culture in the city that never sleeps”, wrote journalist Katerina Anesti on Greek website Protagon about its 2018 tour of the United States.
—It might be an ancient text, but it’s a profoundly political and relevant play dealing with
corruption, the destruction of the environment and the search for a better society. “What most moves me in The Birds is its desire to unearth another kind of life. Aristophanes isn’t just writing for himself. He encapsulates all our dreams and his words reveal an entire universe. The play celebrates wanting to fly away and try and raise ourselves up to a higher place”, explains Nikos Karathanos.
—The production is a vibrant celebration of dance and music that invites the audience to take part in a festival led by a cast from Athens and dancers from a community group from Rio de Janeiro’s slums. It also includes artists of all ages and abilities in a performance that harks back to the ancient Greek comedies most commonly performed during Dionysian celebrations at the beginning and end of each harvest. “Thank the gods that some plays still bring the party”, wrote Vulture columnist Sara Holdren.
—Allegory: A Greek term used to describe something artistic symbolizing an abstract idea involving people, animals or objects. In The Birds, the birds are an allegory for what comes between the sacred (the gods) and the pagan (men), which is why the sky - where birds fly - is a good alternative for a whole new world.
—Greek comedy: Initially one step below tragedy (because performers had to pay their own staging costs, as opposed to tragedies, which received state subsidies), this theater genre - made popular in the sixth century AD in Athens - uses stereotypes, songs and satire to criticize society and the political institutions of the time, as well as to reflect human nature. They were normally put on during Dionysian festivals, with Aristophanes their main advocate.
—Tereus is a character from Greek mythology, the son of Ares and a Thracian king. After raping Philomela - sister of his wife, Queen Procne - and cutting off her tongue, both women decide to get their revenge by killing young Itys, the couple’s son and Tereus’ pride and joy. They then cut him up, cook him and serve him to Tereus for dinner. When he finds out he’s eaten his own son, he goes after the women, but they are changed into birds by the gods. Tereus appears in The Birds as the person who calls on the birds to form a new state.