Tongue of a Bird
Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College will produce the regional premiere of Tongue of a Bird by Ellen McLaughlin, February 17-20 in the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse.
Can mothers and daughters ever really know each other? Rescue pilot Maxine is hired by Dessa, a working class single mother to find a missing little girl, Charlotte, last seen in the
As Maxine searches, she begins to communicate with Evie, a cool and wry spirit of her own mother, when Maxine herself was a “lost little girl.” With haunting echoes of Amelia Earhart, and the lyric imagery of birds resounding throughout, Tongue of a Bird is a poetic, funny, and ultimately moving play. Playwright Ellen McLaughlin is best known as an actress for playing the Angel in the original production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.
Director Karen Berthel is encouraged by the progress the student actors are making. “We're only in the third week of rehearsals and already the actors are finding such depths to their characters.” She believes that “part of that is of course the wonderfully complicated relationships that Ellen McLaughlin has written into this story, in addition to the decisive action and open imagination we all are bringing in to the process each day. And by we I mean more than actors and a director! We are stage mangers, designers, carpenters, technicians, costumers, so many people working to make this happen. And we're each bringing both mind and muscle to our individual task.”
Senior Theatre Arts Major Rosie Stewart developed the scenic design concept. She describes Tongue of a Bird as a “beautiful story about loss, self-reflection, and coming to terms with the world as it is. It's a dark, but very fantastical play, and I wanted the scenery to reflect that.” Because the play takes place in four distinct locations Stewart had a challenge on her hands. “Because all of the action is so quick and the story is so surreal, I thought that it was very important to have all of the separate worlds physically represented onstage, and my challenge was unifying them so that each one looked as though it belonged.”
All performances are in the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse on the Kalamazoo College campus, February 17-20. Thursday’s performance begins at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday’s performances begin at 8pm, with a 2pm matinee on Sunday. Thursday night is “pay what you want.” Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, adults are $15.00, seniors are $10.00, and students (with ID) are $5.00. The box office will open one hour prior to each performance to purchase tickets and it will be festival seating (first come). For more information visit www.kzoo.edu/theatre or call (269) 337-7333.