REVIEW: To Kill An Angry Bird @ Stage 773

Everything I Ever Wanted.

How To Kill An Angry BirdTo Kill An Angry Bird was everything I’d ever want in a sketch show. Annie Goodson (Writer/Director) and Willie Opper (Writer/Producer) hit the nail on the head with this intricate portrayal of human evolution and unfortunate flaws in our modern culture.

They open the show with the concept of “future shock,” the idea that rapidly evolving knowledge leaves people isolated and overwhelmed. As technology, social norms, popular culture and civil movements have evolved throughout history, this concept has become more and more obsolete as we are adapting to the society of today. However, it’s a bold statement to open a show and a fitting stage to set the foundation for an hour long intellectually stimulating and refreshingly honest whirlwind performance.

They alternated between single scenes and group scenes. The group scenes tended to segment history into the now, the mid 1900s and the early 1900s. Each scene presented reactions from the corresponding time period to themes like pop culture, marriage and gender roles. Every topic covered in this show had the distinct possibility of becoming muddled and mundane but Goodson and Opper set clear, concise boundaries for each scene and every line served a purpose. They covered topics such as fathers fighting for custody during divorce, genetically engineered children, online dating and time spent with the elderly. The roles of modern norms and technology were scattered throughout the show, never repeating, never overbearing and always warranted.

This show addresses the awkwardness of the human race. How irrational we are on a daily basis. Why men and women are fundamentally wired differently when it comes to talking about “the future.” How we justify what’s “normal” or not. How it’s eerily easy to kill in the heat of the moment without considering future consequences. How it’s entirely possible that the greatest generation our nation has ever seen is meeting the end of their lives and we’re too consumed with our over-saturated streaming newsfeeds to take time to cherish and learn from them before they pass. This show calls out each of us on our bullshit and makes us question where our priorities lay and whether or not they should be re-evaluated.

It’s funny. It’s smart. It’s heartbreaking. I laughed. I smirked. I cried. Not only is the writing well thought out, but it is expertly executed. The cast is so convincing and convicted to their characters, it’s hard not to relate. One of the final scenes is one that many of us from Generation Y can appreciate. It’s three women in a car. The mother in the driver’s seat, the eldest daughter in the passenger seat and the youngest daughter in the back. The mother is calmly driving away from a divorce, the eldest is a lesbian pushing women’s independence and the youngest is filled with questions and confusion. It wasn’t an angry scene. It wasn’t pushing any specific viewpoint. It was just very real. It genuinely stated that “we are who we are” and sometimes relationships don’t work. It’s no one’s fault, everyone will be ok but it’s still hard. And sometimes that’s the harsh reality of it all.

Lastly, I’ll say that I thoroughly appreciated the musical transitions. Between every scene, a fitting song followed and it truly added to the whole performance. The show wraps up posing the question, “will anyone still need you anymore?” But ultimately it is concluded, that as humans, no matter what stage of evolution we are in, “we are who we are” and in the end, relationships are what matters most. Pharrell’s “Happy” closes the show  and as the lights go down and my heart was exactly that, so very happy.

If there’s one critique I have, it’s the name. After seeing the show, I understand, however, without that frame of reference, I think the show title sells itself short. But what’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. At least that’s what Billy said. So yes, it’s a small critique, but that’s really all I have to offer. This was one of the best sketch shows I’ve seen. Like I said, it was everything I could have ever wanted. Keep an eye on Goodson and Opper, because if this is the type of material they are on track to producing, I plan to see every one of their shows. And I’d recommend you do the same.

To Kill An Angry Bird is a Mass St. Production and plays on Friday nights at Stage 773 at 10:30pm until April 25th. Tickets can be purchased here.

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posted on by Kiley Peters posted in Chatter, Reviews

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