Macbyrd is a new performance by The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company which has been touring this summer and still has performances to catch locally.
Based in Eastbourne, this is a contemporary commedia dell’arte company working with communities across the South in a carnivalesque tradition, visiting annually with brand new stories.
Macbyrd is a comedy thriller - and 16 of the characters are birds! It is set in 1940 and is about changes to a small village brought about by threat of invasion, it’s impact on the local WI, the cricket club, the village play, relationships, and on people who must take on new roles.
There are two stories which link together. Up above there is a power struggle among the birds and the swan, symbol of a certain kind of traditional Englishness and social structure, is murdered by the upstart raven, Macbyrd, who resents the swan’s snobbish disregard for the poor, the sparrows.
Director Pete Talbot said: “There are, it has to be admitted, a few echoes of a certain Shakespeare play. Macbyrd is told by the ‘gypsy magpies’ that his time has come, that ‘sleek birds, black against the sky’ will rule. In fact change to the village is because a momentous event is going to happen...”
The comedy is partly in the absurdity of the birds’ world, but also in the ways of ‘country folk’. So there’s a bit of Foyle’s War about it and The Archers too – plus quite a bit of The Rudes.
Coming up are performances The Tye, Alfriston – Wednesday August 3, The Star Inn, Waldron – Thursday August 11, The Green, Rushlake Green – Friday August 12, Hadlow Down Cricket Field – Saturday August 13, and Michelham Priory, near Hailsham – Sunday August 14. All at 7.30pm, except Michelham Priory which is 7.15pm. Picnics from 6pm, bring low backed chairs and warm clothing. Tickets £15 plus concessions, from 01323-501260 or www.therudemechanicaltheatre.co.uk