Sunday, January 25, 2015

Los Pajaros: Culture Clash

This adaptation of The Birds by Aristophanes was created by John Glore with Culture Clash, with music composed by Michael Roth.  It was produced at South Coast Repertory and Berkeley Repertory in early 1998.

The show began at South Coast Rep, which requested a Culture Clash confrontation with a classic.  At first they did the Aristophanes script, then developed their own in a series of workshops. "We worked from a multicultural perspective," Glore said, "and somewhere along the line we decided that the Greek chorus should sing songs, so the composer Michael Roth was brought in. We've avoided calling this adaptation of The Birds a musical, but it is musical in nature."

The HSU production is the first time an ensemble other than Culture Clash has performed their script of this play. Director Michael Fields consulted with composer Michael Roth on the music, and with members of Culture Clash, who gave their permission to update contemporary references, and to change the title to Los Pajaros.

According to their archival site at California State University Northridge: "Culture Clash is Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and Herbert Siguenza. The Latino/Chicano comedy and theatre group was born on Cinco de Mayo, 1984 at René Yáñez's Galeria de la Raza in San Francisco, California. Originally composed of six members, this innovative troupe gained a place in the national spotlight with their 1988 play, The Mission.

Counting influences such as Charlie Chaplin, Bertolt Brecht, Cantinflas, and the Marx Brothers, Culture Clash have brought their blend of social and political satire to prominent venues including New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Miami's Colony Theatre, and Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum; to their television specials and comedy series; to their movies and short films; to their artwork and visual style; and most recently, to the publication of their collected works--Culture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy (1998) and Culture Clash in AmeriCCa: Four Plays (2003)."

In 2007 Culture Clash did their updated version of The Birds as an "elaborate readers theatre" piece at the Getty Center in LA.  In 2009 they did their version of another Aristophanes play, Peace, also at the Getty Center.

No comments: