The Guthrie Theater today announced the full cast and creative team for The Birds-acclaimed Irish playwright and director Conor McPherson's adaptation of the riveting Daphne Du Maurier short story. Directed by Henry Wishcamper, this deliciously chilling psychological portrait of fear and alienation will have its American premiere at the Guthrie in the Dowling Studio. Show opens 2/25.
To create this immersive and ominous theatrical experience, Wishcamper has assembled a stellar cast of Twin Cities actors. On the heels of their portrayals of the miserable miser Ebenezer Scrooge and his surly housekeeper Merriweather in the Guthrie's annual holiday treat, A Christmas Carol, J.C. Cutler and Angela Timberman will team up again to take on the roles of Nat and Diane, respectively-two strangers who form a bond to survive their harrowing experience.
Cutler and Timberman are joined by Summer Hagen (A Christmas Carol, Arms and the Man) as Julia, a mysterious young woman who brings discord to the desperate situation, and Stephen Yoakam (The Burial at Thebes, The Winter's Tale, A Delicate Balance) as the cryptic, watchful neighbor Tierney.
"The Birds is a gripping, unsettling and moving look at human relationships in the absence of our greater society and moral/legal code," notes Wishcamper. "The birds themselves create an ominous feeling of claustrophobia, but the real thrills in the play come out of the conflicts and interactions of the people onstage. I am very excited to work with this amazing group of actors in the intimate confines of the Dowling Studio."
In an isolated, abandoned house, strangers Nat and Diane take refuge from the unnerving masses of birds that attack everyone around them. They find relative sanctuary but not comfort or peace: there's no electricity, little food and the birds always return. And they worry about a nearby neighbor, who may or may not still be alive and watching them. Soon another refugee, the young, attractive Julia, arrives with some news of the outside world but her presence also brings discord. The uncertain survival of the three becomes even more doubtful when paranoia creeps into their little refuge, adding an internal threat to match the external threat of the birds.
The artistic team includes Wilson Chin (Set Designer), Jenny Mannis (Costume Designer), Matthew Richards (Lighting Designer), Scott W. Edwards (Sound Designer), Michael Lupu (Dramaturgy), Peter Moore (Fight Coordinator), Jason Clusman (Stage Manager), Meaghan Rosenberger (Assistant Stage Manager) and Amanda Friou (Assistant Director).
Single tickets for the Guthrie's production start at $24 and are now on sale through the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224, toll-free 877.44.STAGE, 612.225.6244 (Group Sales) and online at www.guthrietheater.org.
Alongside Brian Friel and Martin McDonagh, Dublin native Conor McPherson is considered one of the best contemporary Irish playwrights. With work that lies somewhere between the existential angst of Harold Pinter and the fierceness of David Mamet, McPherson plumbs the depths of disappointed hopes, broken relationships and troubled lives with wit and a great talent for storytelling. His more than a dozen plays include The Weir (1997), Dublin Carol (2000), Shining City (2004) and The Seafarer (2006). Among his many awards are the Olivier Award for Best Play for The Weir and Tony Award nominations for Best Play for both Shining City and The Seafarer.
Henry Wishcamper is the artistic director of Katharsis Theater Company. He is a Drama League Directing Fellow and a graduate of Yale University. His directing credits include Off-Broadway: Spirit Control (MTC), Graceland (LCT3), Port Authority (Atlantic Theater Company), Elvis People (New World Stages), The Polish Play (Katharsis Theater Company), Pullman Car Hiawatha (Keen Company; Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Play); Regional: Animal Crackers (The Goodman, Joseph Jefferson nomination), Talking Pictures (The Goodman), Engaging Shaw and The Mystery of Irma Vep (The Old Globe), Art (Barrington Stage), The Seafarer and Speech & Debate (Hartford TheaterWorks), The Good Thief (Portland Stage) and Broadway: Assistant director August: Osage County and Shining City.