Strangebird Zirkus: Ornithology
Experimental theatre mixes bird behaviour and human participation for an unforgettable production
Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Fri 29 Jun; Arches, Glasgow, Thu 5 Jul, then touring
Ever sat in the theatre and wished you could change the channel? Well now you can, courtesy of the latest production from Edinburgh-based aerial company Strangebird Zirkus.
While the visual aspect of Ornithology may remain the same (and if the company’s previous show, Unchartered Waters is anything to go by, you wouldn’t want it any other way) the aural experience is up for grabs. Wearing headphones, audience members can choose between a purely musical soundtrack, or the musings of an ornithologist watching the other characters on stage.
‘We felt it would be an interesting challenge to create a physical story which was a stand alone piece of gestural theatre with a musical soundscape,’ explains Lucy Deacon of Strangebird, ‘whilst at the same time offering a second listening option – that of the ornithologist’s observations. Audiences can choose to hear music and make their own interpretation, or switch channels and share the ornithologist’s view of it.’
Formed in 2009, Strangebird Zirkus is a partnership between Deacon from Scotland and Moritz Linkmann from Germany. Fusing Chinese pole, aerial hoop and floor acrobatics, this latest piece explores notions of watching and being watched, and the often absurd way our behaviour changes when we’re trying to attract a potential mate.
‘All the characters in Ornithology are somewhat bizarre,’ says Deacon, ‘but they caricature behaviour that is very recognisable. Hopefully people will see that despite a broad spectrum of appearances and identities, we human beings have a lot in common and shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.’