Macbyrd is a new performance by The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company which has been touring around our area this summer and still has performances to catch locally.
This is a contemporary commedia dell’arte company working with communities across the South of England in a carnivalesque tradition, visiting annually with brand new stories, making people laugh, moving them and being provocative.
Macbyrd is a comedy thriller - and 16 of the characters are birds! It is set in 1940 and is about changes to a small village in rural Sussex brought about by threat of invasion, it’s impact on the local WI, the cricket club, the village play, and on relationships, and on people must take on new roles.
There are two stories which link together. Up above there is a power struggle among the birds and the swan, symbol of a certain kind of traditional Englishness and social structure, is murdered by the upstart raven, Macbyrd, who resents the swan’s snobbish disregard for the poor, the sparrows.
Director Pete Talbot said: “There are, it has to be admitted, a few echoes of a certain Shakespeare play. Macbyrd is told by the ‘gypsy magpies’ that his time has come, that ‘sleek birds, black against the sky’ will rule. In fact change to the village is because a momentous event is going to happen...”
The comedy is partly in the absurdity of the birds’ world, but also in the ways of ‘country folk’. So there’s a bit of Foyle’s War about it and The Archers too – plus quite a bit of The Rudes.
Coming up are performances in Markwick Gardens, St Leonards, on Saturday July 30, Swan Meadow in Burwash on Friday August 5, and Wadhurst Primary School field on Wednesday August 10 - all 7.30pm. Picnics from 6pm, bring low backed chairs and warm clothing. Tickets £15 plus concessions, from 01323-501260 or www.therudemechanicaltheatre.co.uk