Rajiv Krishnan's 'Birds' is a social satire

What better way to celebrate World Theatre Day than to stage a play that mirrors the times we live in!

author_img Rupam Jain Published :  24th March 2023 03:13 PM   |   Published :   |  24th March 2023 03:13 PM
A scene from the play

A scene from the play

Though The Birds by the Greek playwright Aristophanes was written in 414 BC, theatre group Perch was struck by how relevant the themes of this play were for the times we live in. “In the original story, two people go in search of birds, hoping that they’ll show them a better place to live. So one person suggests the same to the birds, but the birds point out that humans have been their enemies, so, how do they now expect the birds to be kind to them or believe them? Then the person makes an offer that the birds create a space in the sky so that humans can send offerings to the gods and the birds can be like a toll booth in the sky, and the birds can thereby benefit from both the humans and the gods. The proposal is accepted by the birds, and eventually, this person becomes more and more powerful,” says Rajiv Krishnan, director of the play, adding, “So taking that idea, we thought, what would it be like if we had a real story and a fantasy running parallel to one another? We wanted to draw parallel to people who attain power with promises, eventually using those promises to exercise supreme control. But, we had to find a way to root it in something real. Hence, in our play, the real story is about a small community of people, who fear displacement owing to a metro line construction. The community begins to protest this move, but there is this one member of the same community, a villain, who tries to make people believe that the metro is meant for their own progress, so why reject it?”

Poster of Birds

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The narrative suddenly changes direction and slips into a fantasy world, inhabited by humans and birds. “In our play, the same character plays the villain in both the stories— real and parallel. In the parallel one, he suggests his community build a wall in the sky, and a small gate through which only humans can enter. The birds get fooled into this, and the play depicts a gradual rise to power of this person, who goes on to become the supreme leader. With the two stories intersecting, what we are essentially trying to say is that the only way to react or respond to the rise of a dictator or to people threatening to uproot or displace you, is through resistance and standing up for your rights,” the director explains.

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The play is a social satire, with songs and music, promising an engaging and entertaining 
wholesome narrative.  

Rs 300. Tickets available 
online and at the venue.
25, 26, 27 March. 7 pm.
Medai –The Stage, Alwarpet.