An everyday tale of tragedy, birds, and village folk

Rude Mechanical Theatre Co with Macbyrd
Rude Mechanical Theatre Co with Macbyrd

The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company is a contemporary commedia dell’arte company working with communities right across the South of England in a carnivalesque tradition that goes back thousands of years.

The inventive group tours annually with brand new stories; this year the offering is Macbyrd, a comedy thriller set in a village under threat of invasion - and sixteen of the characters are birds.

Pete Talbot, writer and director, 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 – and I’m not going to tell you what!

“Prejudice amongst the ‘oomans puts the death of the swan down to gypsies and among the birds to a foreigner, a rare Indian bushlark which has been swept in by storms.

“Here’s the serious bit. In the same way that Hitler represented a threat to our values, so too in people’s perceptions do other things today. How do we deal with those ‘threats’ and what indeed do our values really consist of and how should we adapt in the face of change? Inevitably base instincts like prejudice surface. In this cauldron of change the play explores the values of ordinariness (the heroism of living an ‘ordinary’ life as part of a community), leadership, love and adaptivity that remain constants in difficult times.” Tickets £15 plus concessions from 01323-501260 or www.therudemechanicaltheatre.co.uk

Dates are ; St Thomas’ Primary School field, Winchelsea – Sun June 19; Crowhurst Recreation Ground – Fri July 22; Markwick Gardens, St Leonards – Sat July 30; Swan Meadow, Burwash – Fri Aug 5; Wadhurst Primary School field – Weds Aug 19. All at 7.30pm. Picnics from 6pm. Bring your own low backed chairs and warm clothing.