The University Players season opener tells a modern story that isn’t afraid to take risks, thanks in part to the work that’s being done within the School of Dramatic Art to support students in their learning.
If We Were Birds by Erin Shields is a re-imagining of the classic tale of Tereus, Procne and Philomela. Chosen by acting students, the piece examines the horrors of war and its effects on generations of women who have been traumatized and whose voices have historically been silenced.
University Players veteran Lee Wilson directs the show, which features graduating students in strong female roles, bringing opportunities for them to explore complex and challenging material. These culminating projects allow students to explore relevant, current issues that put into practice the skills they have gained during their time at UWindsor.
The challenging themes within the work require vulnerability and courage from the performers, and instructors have focused on the health and well-being of the student actors throughout the process. This year, the drama school has brought in Siobhan Richardson, an intimacy director and coach who specializes in working with actors as they approach sensitive material.
Richardson’s consultation on the production helps students discuss and view these heart-wrenching moments through the lens of this presentation. Her support guides students in establishing and exploring their own process for doing vulnerable work.
The piece will be performed via Zoom in a combination of live and recorded performance, featuring animation from communications major Kieran Potter and projection design by David Court. The combined recorded and live presentation weaves a tapestry of multimedia that echoes the pattern woven by the main character in the story of the piece.
Containing sexual violence, strong language, and mature themes, If We Were Birds is recommended for ages 18+.
Performances run Oct. 22 to 31, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at www.universityplayers.com.