‘Makes us look at our own humanity’: The Birds to be performed in Winchester this November

The Dundas County Players present The Birds later this month. – Submitted photo

As the winter blues come upon us, it seems harder and harder to find reasons to dress up, leave the house, and engage with your community. If you’re looking to break the pattern of sweatpants and movies on the couch, one great idea for a night out is to attend a local theatre production.

Look no further than The Dundas County Players Theatrical Society (DCP)’s fall production of “The Birds.”

The show will take place at the Old Town Hall at 478 Main Street in Winchester throughout November, 2023. 

The Dundas County Players’ Theatrical Society creates amateur performances to promote interest in the dramatic arts and foster arts involvement for youths in the North and South Dundas community. They put on at least two major performances per year, and their selection for fall 2023 is “The Birds.” 

The play, re-imagined by Irish playwright Conor McPherson, is described as a psychological thriller that was adapted from a Daphne Du Maurier’s short story. This iconic story by Du Maurier is also the inspiration behind an Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name. It appears the themes within “The Birds” has a timeless and universal appeal among artists of all genres. 

The DCP’s production of “The Birds” is directed by Shannon Murdock and produced by Ami Lynn Johnson.

Brockvilleist had the pleasure of interviewing Shannon Murdock about her directorial debut; she previously acted in two shows with DCP, but wanted to direct one of her own.

​​”I think when people think of ‘The Birds,’ their mind immediately goes to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film filled with unexplained, sudden bird attacks on people,” Murdock said. “I was drawn to this play to such a degree that I wanted to understand every word and every moment, and how the audience would react.”

When asked how the play will resonate with audiences, the director said ” The Birds” is a gripping and disturbing look at relationships in the face of societal collapse. It is a play about fear, community, paranoia, claustrophobia, and survival, all complicated by the recurring intrusion of attacking birds. I think what will resonate with the audience is how human beings can treat each other given some pretty desperate situations. It makes us look at our own humanity. It will question some of our human emotions to the core.” 

Murdock said the blocking and rehearsing process of the play has been a success from start to finish.

“The rehearsal and creative process has been a wonderful experience,” she expressed. “The actors have breathed life into their characters with an array of emotions, and have surprised me many times with how they have dealt with the challenges of the play.”

While everyone involved in the production is a volunteer, Murdock said “there are a couple actors that have done professional theatre and have had education and training. Community theatre at its finest.” 

When asked what she’s most looking forward to as the play finally comes alive for audiences, Murdoch shared “I am looking forward to seeing all of the hard, team work that has gone into this production over the last few weeks to deliver my creative vision to the stage. Many thanks to the creative production team who have worked hard to build a feeling of suspense and fascination that will leave the audience contemplating the plot for days to come… It’s been a director’s dream working on this play. I am so excited for opening night!”

The DCP warns of “strong language and adult content” and does not recommend this show for children.

Evening performances will be on Nov. 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. There will also be two matinee performances on Nov. 19 and 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets for the show can be purchased for $20 by calling the box office at 613-297-0097 or by clicking here

Murdoch wanted to affirm to readers that the DCP are always looking for interested people to join them.

“Whether it be acting, stage crew, lighting, sound or front of house (concessions etc.) anyone and everyone is welcome! And the best news of all is, no experience required! Contact us at About the Dundas County Players – Dundas County Players (dcplayers.ca) or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.” 

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