I don’t know if the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes was the George Orwell of his day, but this comedy does evoke thoughts of one of Orwell’s masterworks Animal Farm. He penned it in 1945 as an allegory for the pervsion of socialist ideals occurring in the Soviet Union with the emergence of Joseph Stalin as a brutal dictator. In the book, barnyard animals come together to overthrow their oppressor (a farmer named Mr. Jones, who represents the capitalist class) and establish their own worker-run paradise. But things don’t exactly go according to plan.
The Birds is set in Athens. It was first performed in 414 B.C.E., and recounts a plan by the world’s birds to build a city in the sky so that they might enjoy a closer relationship with the gods than humans. This production is being mounted by the University of Regina Theatre Department and features a cast of 28. It’s also received a bit of a reworking by First Nations playwright Yvette Nolan to heighten its relevance to contemporary society. The Birds runs at Riddell Centre March 13-16 at 7:30 p.m. For ticket information call 585-5562.