Oct. 29 marks opening night of Messiah University’s Theatre production of “The Birds.”

“The Birds” is a Greek comedy written by Aristophanes in 414 BC. Messiah’s rendition is directed by Professor Ed Cohn and will be available for viewing via livestream.

A major reason the theatre department chose to perform Greek works this semester is because of the large use of masks. Since many characters in the play wear bird masks, wearing another mask underneath for COVID-19 did not take away from the costumes.

The Greek way of speaking and writing can be confusing at times but all of the actors kept viewers engaged by using their whole body to convey the humor of the show.

The show begins with Pisthetaerus and Euelpides, two human Athenians, in search for a better world among the birds. Pisthetaerus and Euelpides, played by Ellen Diehl and Bryanna Pye, are on the hunt for the king of the birds.

King of the birds, Epops, offers the two travelers a place in his kingdom. Played by Jim Hy, Epops flaunts around in his sparkle-studded costume as he summons the rest of his bird friends.

Not all birds are friendly, however. Pisthetaerus and Euelpides make their case against the birds, during which they must defend themselves with pots and pans.
The travelers and the birds then decide to challenge the Greek gods, specifically Zeus, and build a utopian land of their own. As they construct this new city, many interesting characters appear.

Adversaries threaten the creation of this new utopian world, Cloud Cuckoo Land, and cause strange things to happen. During a series of unfortunate events, rocks are thrown and a goat is murdered.

Along with the unique characters, an intriguing part of this play are the costumes. Designed by Elizabeth Angelozzi, almost every kind of costume imaginable is seen during the show. The audience will witness many costumes inspired by Bob the Builder, Hercules and Power Rangers.

How do all these crazy characters connect? Do Pisthetaerus and Euelpides succeed in the creation of a better world? Unfortunately, I can’t give any spoilers, so you’ll just have to tune in and see.

Eccentric and quirky, “The Birds,” is an ideal way to escape reality and have a laugh for the evening. Grab your roommates and view live theatre in the comfort of your own dorm or apartment.

“The Birds” will be livestreamed Oct. 29-31 and Nov. 2-3 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 1 at 3 p.m. Support local actors and watch “The Birds” for free!