“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That’s what it’s all nally about, and that’s what these clues help us to nd within ourselves.” – Joseph Campbell

I rst heard of this play from former student Michael Hays. He had performed in Tom Beckett’s Da Vinci production many years ago, and thought it was the type of show I would like to direct. He was right. I put it in the back of my mind – knowing that someday I would indeed direct this piece. I suppose the reason Michael thought I would like

it is because it is a story about the search for wisdom and enlightenment – which are the stories I am most drawn to. In fact, the shows that I have felt most proud of directing were shows like The Prince, Alice in Wonderland, Metamorphoses, Big Love, Twelfth Night, Lord of the Flies, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Lysistrada.

All shows which had at there core the theme of personal transformation. The Conference of the Birds is just that kind of story.

This is my 19th year at Grant High School and my 15th show here in this historic space. This is the last show I will direct
in the Grant Theater, as we know it. And, for me, it is tting to go back to the roots of storytelling and theater for my nal production. I adapted this play from two sources, Peter Brook’s 1970 production and Peter Sis’ 2011 illustrated book, which were both adapted from the 12th Century Persian epic poem by Farid Ud-din Attar. I have tried to simplify the story in a way that gets to the core of the story and its meaning while staying true to the essence of the birds’ journey. The Birds’ journey is a metaphor for the journey all of us make

in our lives, and the decisions they face – whether to even attempt the journey at all, or give up along the way –
are questions we also face everyday.

For this journey, as always, I am blessed to work with my partner in artistic crime, Judith Rizzio. It is safe to say that no show we have done together would have been nearly as interesting, beautiful, or fun if either of us had done it alone.

This has been a true partnership, and I am a better person because I have known Judith. Thank you, and enjoy.

– Trisha Todd

 

This is my 13th show with Trisha. The most satisfying part
of working together is the journey we experience along the way. It is like a dance… bouncing ideas, images, words, music, sounds and movement back and forth as we collaborate to create an original piece or a new way to do a classic play.

The Conference of the Birds has been a lesson of allowing the actors to tell a story in a very simple and pure way.

As the costumer and movement designer, I had to trust that the actors would convey to the audience the power of this tale without elaborate bird costumes and choreographed dances. It was an amazing and at times challenging process, but in the end these actors have surpassed these expectations and brought their passion and commitment to the story.

This is what I love about high school theater. It allows students not only the chance to learn an artistic skill but to discover more about themselves and the world around them. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this process and to do whatever I can to ensure it continues and thrives at
Grant HS.

– Judith Rizzio