Theatre Trash, Battery Operated Birds

Review in Issue 14-3 | Autumn 2002

Intriguing in both name and in presentation, Battery Operated Birds, devised by the ensemble Theatre Trash, is a piece about emotionally damaged characters trying to find fulfilment in their lives. Dry humour is expressed in the repetition of day-today scenarios in a seemingly average household, rewound as if filmed for a health and safety video. Domestic tasks symbolise the forming of relationships and the household’s inhabitants’ attempt to get it right without knowing that they are being made to try again and again.

Using video projection, an exploration of advice fed to the general public through commercial media inspires the text and physicality of this work. Warnings of everyday dangers in the home and guidance on how to avoid them are interspersed with the daily exchanges between a landlady and her tenants, alluding to dysfunction within their lives.

The messages are that someone has to suffer for the rest of us to ‘learn’ and that happiness is a procedure for which it is difficult to find ‘instructions’. Through a macabre and comical window we witness mistake after mistake, part of daily routine but controlled by external forces.

This was a competent production brought to us by a young ensemble with an interesting take on modern living. They manage to hold the audience’s attention; however one can’t help feeling that they are not quite developed enough as a company to fully express the intent of the piece. An ambitious start.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Date Seen
  1. Aug 2002

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-3
p. 24