Reviewed by Paula Citron
Playwright Erin Shields is another shining talent on the theatre scene. Her powerful play If We Were Birds, a hit at Summerworks, is now being given a big showcase by the Tarragon, and well-deserved it is.
Inspired by a tale in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Shields’ concentration is on rape, both as a political act and a gender power play, as two sisters carry out a horrific revenge when one is raped by the husband of the other.
Shields’ language is highly poetic and director Alan Dilworth treats the material in grand style, giving the play the weight of an epic Greek tragedy rather than just a modern day retelling. The lead actors are superb and the Greek chorus of female rape victims, each from a different conflict in history, is also very strong.
My only quibble is that the play is feminist overkill, although I concede that the message is so very, very important.
If We Were Birds continues at Tarragon Theatre until May 23.
If We Were Birds
Tarragon Theatre/Groundwater Productions
Written by Erin Shields
Directed by Alan Dilworth
Starring Tara Rosling, Philippa Domville, Geoffrey Pounsett and David Fox with Barbara Gordon, Stephanie Jung, Daniela Lama, Shannon Perrault and Karen Robinson
Tarragon Theatre, Apr. 14 to May 23, 2010