'A Mouthful of Birds' lands on RIC stage, Nov. 16-20

“A Mouthful of Birds,” a provocative dance drama by Caryl Churchill and David Lan, will be staged at RIC from Nov. 16-20. Casey Seymour Kim, a RIC adjunct faculty member, actress and theatre instructor, will direct the play.

The Mainstage Theatre production will be held from Nov. 16-19 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 19 and 20 at 2 p.m in the Nazarian Center’s Forman Theatre.

Based on Euripides’ ancient Greek tragedy “The Bacchae,” “A Mouthful of Birds” explores issues such as possession, madness and female violence, but involves a lot of humor as well, said Seymour Kim.

The play is composed of seven vignettes, each focusing on different characters whose lives unfold in three sections: an introduction, an “undefended” day and the aftermath.

The “undefended” day – a time when the body is more susceptible to spirits, love, addiction or desire – leaves characters unable to protect themselves from different forces within and around them, and allows them to act out moments of intense violence.

The characters all fall under the powers of Dionysus – the god of ritual madness and ecstasy – and a dancer in the play who watches the action, but is invisible to others onstage. The kiss of Dionysus causes a central transformation during each vignette.

“The play does not spell anything out for its audience, which means that audience members will be able to engage more actively when watching this show than is usually involved with more conventionally-structured dramas,” said Seymour Kim.

“The student cast tackled this project with imagination and professional dedication,” she added.

“A Mouthful of Birds” also includes several dance and movement numbers.

“The vignettes are punctuated by physical movement and dance pieces that perform much of the same function as choral odes in the ancient Greek tragedies, reflecting the tone of what has just occurred and preparing the audience for what is about to happen,” Seymour Kim said.

D’Arcy Dersham, a member of the Elemental Theatre Collective in Providence, and Alicia White ‘10, alumna of the RIC Dance Department, both helped to formulate and choreograph ideas for the dance numbers.

General admission for “A Mouthful of Birds” is $15. Tickets can be purchased in advance via Visa or MasterCard by calling (401) 456-8144 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, or online at www.ric.edu/pfa.