Tickets are on sale for the OSU Department of Theatre’s Main Stage production of “The Birds,” from a short story that inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller as well as playwright Conor McPherson’s version, which will be featured Oct. 5-7 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 8 at 2:30 p.m. in the Vivia Locke Theatre at the Seretean Center for the Performing Arts. Season tickets are still available along with single ticket purchases, the program is not recommended for children because of its strong language and adult themes.
OSU’s first production of the year is similar to the movie as murderous birds attack and induce a societal collapse while strangers struggle for survival from the relentless terror. However, the similarities end there. The play is told from the perspective of Diane, who finds herself as one of the few survivors after a deadly apocalypse. Diane and Nat might be able to forge a plan for survival until strangers show up with their own secrets and mysterious agendas. The characters try to survive not only the birds but also each other as resources dwindle and life grows increasingly precarious.
Head of the Department of Theatre Andrew Kimbrough doubles as the director for “The Birds.”
“We chose this play for the season for the challenge it presents all of us,” Kimbrough said. “If we’re successful, everyone will feel terrified, but they’ll also be engrossed in the human story portrayed on stage. The cast has a difficult challenge, but they are up to it. They have been doing great in rehearsals.”
Jacque Wieden plays Diane and describes the play as “a story of survival and life.” She reflects on her audition and work to find the essence of her character.
“It was unlike anything I had ever auditioned for,” Wieden said. “Her personality seemed hard to capture. I kept thinking, If I get this role, I am going to spend all my free time figuring her out.”
Wieden is a junior in the Department of Theatre and has played in previous productions, such as “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “Shipwrecked!” She plans to graduate in fall 2018.
Emma White makes her Viva Locke Theatre debut as the antagonist, Julia, who battles Diane for survival. White is a freshman majoring in theatre. “The Birds” is her first college production, and she agrees the characters provide challenging roles.
“I have never played a character in such a dire situation as Julia,” White said. “Obviously, I haven’t been in a situation like this before, either. I think it will be difficult, but I’m excited to grow as an actor and a person in the process. I’m always looking for a challenge.”
Hayden Yoder, a sophomore majoring in theatre, felt challenged about his character, named Nat, who has to keep Diane and Julia from harming themselves and each other while fighting to secure their survival.
“I am extremely happy with the character I get to portray because Nat is unlike any other character I’ve ever attempted,” Yoder said. “I believe Nat should be portrayed as a survivor. He's a man who is thinking of survival every second of every day no matter the situation.”
Although Yoder played the role of a survivor before, in the Department of Theatre’s presentation of “Shipwrecked!,” he assures Nat is not like any other role he’s had.
“What I need to do to prepare for this role is shed my previous characters. Nat is completely different than all the other characters I've portrayed and I have to discover who Nat really is.”
Senior Chloe Mullin is responsible for the costume design — a first for her — after studying design and construction for four years.
“The play offers lots of possibilities for the designer,” Mullin said. “First, it’s set a little in the future, when nobody really knows what styles will look like. Second, the characters become survivalists and have to dress like it. Designing something like this is not easy to pull off, but I’ve enjoyed the challenge immensely.”
Junior Harley Roche executes the sound design.
“So much of this story is told by what we hear,” Roche said. “It’s been a great exercise in exploring possibilities. We’ve got some surprises in store. If we’re lucky, we’ll get folks thinking birds are in the auditorium.”
Rounding out the design team are faculty members Lee Brasuell, scenic design; Leslie Currell, lighting design; and Maggie Gayle, props.
Join the Theatre for this intense thriller. Season tickets are still available, so don’t miss your last chance to purchase a full season pass—four tickets—at the following prices: general admission season tickets are $40; senior (65 and older) season tickets are $30, and student season tickets are $25.
Patrons interested in attending a single show can purchase general admission tickets for $12 each; single tickets are $10 for seniors (65 and older), and student single tickets are $7.
For more information about “The Birds” or the 2017-2018 season productions, please visit theatre.okstate.edu or call (405) 744-6094.