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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2011: “The Conference of the Birds”

Theatre Paradoks present a piece of devised theatre for this year’s Festival Fringe.

Delivered through storytelling, physical theatre and music, and adapted by Peter Brook and Jean-Claude Carrière from 12th century Persian Sufi poetry, “The Conference of the Birds” is the tale of the birds of the world in search of their mysterious king, the Simorgh.

Theatre Paradoks is the University of Edinburgh’s alternative theatre society. The group aims to produce experimental theatre that overcomes the traditional stigma of the genre through quality and accessibility. Guided by producer, Sophie Vukovic, the group will bring an ancient Persian tale to the heart of Scotland’s capital.

Tamsin Wates and Sophie Barclay are the directors in this complex retelling of a mystical tale:

“We are working to create an intense and elemental piece of theatre which reaches the audience in a very guttural sense – but we are also intent on bringing out the subtle comedy within the play so that it is also engaging and entertaining.”

“Taking up the Sufi idea of divine ‘tarab’ (ecstacy through music) we will be using rhythmic music to bring actors and audience together in the space and create an enchanting atmosphere. All music will be performed live and the actors will play a large role in creating it.”

“There’s a heavy emphasis on movement with the actors using evocative (not literal) movement to take on the roles of birds. Actors play multiple roles, taking off bird masks/head-dresses to act out stories told about humans (humans playing birds playing humans – a lot of exciting work to be done with physicality here).”

“We’re working around the Sufi idea of ‘the unity of being’ – this will involve a subtle shifting from a focus on the individualism of
the characters and slowly bring them together through movement, music (‘tarab’) and plot to eventually ‘become one’ at the culminating point in the play when they finally meet the Simorgh and find that it is actually just a reflection of them.”

“These are the basic starting points for the creative process but they are deliberately kept fluid so that the actors have creative space to experiment and take the play in exciting and potentially unexpected directions before anything is set in stone.”

SEE IT

Dates: 15th-20th August
Time: 21.35 BST
Venue: theSpace@ Venue 45, Old Saint Paul’s Church Hall, 63 Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh EH1 1DH
Tickets: £5.00 (£4.50)

CAST LIST

  • Sam Gillespie
  • Fiona Anderson
  • Aoife Keenan
  • Rohanne Udall
  • Jonathan Blaydon
  • Darla Eno
  • Dylan Read
  • Nefeli Tsetseri
  • Susannah Walden
  • Thomas Louis
  • Isabel Powell
  • Sarah Elghady

About Entertainment Desk

Entertainment Desk
Editors and staff from the Entertainment Desk at The Global Herald.

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