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Rare Birds

Members say: Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intense
75
Critics
69
10 reviews
Members
77
35 reviews
 

The Red Fern Theatre Company presents the world premiere of this drama about adolescent violence and the perils of love. 

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Sixteen-year-old Evan is an avid bird watcher who wears colorful songbird shirts to school despite the bullying it inspires. Evan's mother just wants her son to be normal and happy, and get along with her new boyfriend. While Evan tries to summon the courage to talk to Jenny Monroe (whose locker is next to his), bully Dylan has something darker in mind. After some stupid choices and unexpected results, Evan learns that the worst thing you can do in high school is admit you love something.

 

Cast & Creatives (13)


Reviews (45)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
69
Avg Score

45
Theater In The Now

"If Adam Szymkowicz's story sounds familiar it's because it, well, is...Szymkowicz doesn't offer a new perspective on the theme. For the most part, the plot is predictable. The characters fit into common stereotypes...Director Scott Eberold needed to somehow infuse more humor at the start to avoid the weighty topic becoming too overwhelming...'Rare Birds' is a play that thrives on the emotional content. It unfortunately begged too hard for it." Full Review

65
Talkin' Broadway

“It does suffer from some clunky plot elements. But it shows real strength in its depiction of Evan, brought richly to life through Jake Glassman's compelling performance…Unfortunately, the other characters are less carefully developed and fall into clichéd and predictable patterns…While director Scott Ebersold elicits excellent performances from the cast, the play itself would be much stronger if those in orbit around Evan had been more fully developed.” Full Review

85
BlogCritics.org

"'Rare Birds' proves that talent and skill can make an 'issue' piece a compelling work of art. What’s rare is Szymkowicz’s gift for naturalistic dialogue. Enacted by a cast with saber-sharp timing under the skillful direction of Scott Ebersold...The finely constructed and sharply executed dialogue makes us ride along eagerly even through some less ostensibly believable scenes...It’s a winner from start to finish." Full Review

75
On Stage Blog

"The moment when one reaches out to help the other starts a chain reaction of understanding. But before the patch of blue sky is seen, the director Scott Ebersold suffocates the audience with adolescent violence, humiliation, and neglect. However, 'Rare Birds' is far from being black-and-white. The tight-fit cast takes us on a very real and emotional journey, where you sob one moment and laugh the next." Full Review

75
CHARGED.fm

“The production plumbs the depths of how cruel teenagers can be…It's a fascinating story, but also a rather bleak one…A ticking time bomb that leaves audiences cringing more often than smiling…What sells this show is the acting, a compelling performance by a core of six actors dedicated to telling every bit of truth in the script...It's unclear by the end of the play if 'Rare Birds' is just Evan's story, or an ensemble narrative...Still, it's an emotional and fitting ending for Evan himself." Full Review

75
Theatre is Easy

“Well written, with dark comedy, intense drama, and an intriguing plot arc…The main characters are complex and believable, with deep inner lives. The peripheral characters are less developed, occasionally falling into the realm of cliché. But overall the play keeps the audience captivated—that is, until the tension-filled climax resolves with a less than believable feel-good ending…Still, 'Rare Birds' checks off many of the boxes of a great play...A memorable emotional journey.” Full Review

60
The Reviews Hub

"The themes explored in 'Rare Birds' are heavy and often disheartening. The script does offer moments of levity and humor, but this production fails to let those moments shine, and so suffers from a constant weight on the shoulders of the characters and the audience...Szymkowicz’s script has a lot to offer, and director Scott Ebersold makes a noble attempt at bringing it fully to life. This production is effective, but doesn’t quite stand out as a must-see production." Full Review

60
New York Critic Blog

"The script is well crafted, never flagging, with carefully wrought dialogue...Scott Ebersold has directed masterfully. He keeps the stage fluid and dynamic, and he allows his actors to shine. The entire cast performs well, although the two bullies aren’t given much to do except to be mean...And so 'Rare Birds' is a well-executed production of a script that lacks cultural truth. In this topsy-turvy dramatic world, the gays bully the straights. Mr. Szymkowicz needs to rethink his concept." Full Review

80
White Rhino Report

“Deeply moving...Playwright Szymkowicz has sensitively drawn each of these characters, and director Scott Ebersold has molded this ensemble into a team that functions with passion and conviction. The overall impact is strong and sobering, getting across a message of anti-bullying without being preachy or polemical.” Full Review

90
Opplaud

"A plot that had us cringing and squirming and flinching—and at just the right moments, laughing to release the tension, only to build it back up again...Ebersold has this talented cast delivering every well-written line with emotion so perfect that you can't help feeling compassion for each character's problems...There are a couple of areas that could use just a tiny bit of work...Nonetheless, feel free to bring your greatest expectations to this production and you will not be disappointed." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
77
Avg Score

77
Relevant, Current, Ingredients = sexting, bullying, teen suicide, birds, Another ingredient = sublimating gay impulse, Outsider memes

See it if another look at outsider teen dealing with bullying, suicide, parenting mistakes, first kisses, crushes, birds is engaging night in theater

Don't see it if kitchensink/bedroom drama, teen suicide, guns, bullying, sexting, birds, single moms, never married boyfriends, small town dynamics bother u

70
Great acting, Relevant, Uneven, Frustrating, Heavy-handed

See it if you want to see a couple of really good performances (despite one pretty bad one) in a play that maybe feels like it needed one more draft.

Don't see it if you'd be annoyed by an overwritten play that spells out every plot point and theme so clearly you almost feel the author thinks you're dumb.

89
Great acting, Intense, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you enjoyed Dear Evan Hansen. Similar topics and great acting.

Don't see it if you don't want to watch a heavy show with serious topics.

80
Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you want a play that isnt afraid to deal with some of our youths most pressing issues they suffer with and how to navigate through

Don't see it if you dont like plays with most characters aged in high school, have an issue with profanity and discussing tough issues such as suicide

71
Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing

See it if This was an important story about bullying and its effects. There were some cliches regarding the bully.

Don't see it if Teen angst annoys you. There are some leaps the writer wants the audience to take that seem far fetched.

79
Absorbing, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a relevant play about real-life and cyber bullying. Good story and nice acting performances by all involved

Don't see it if you are upset by bullying, homophobic slurs, guns.

82
Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if you are interested in teen angst and how bullying and homophobia can effect both kids and adults.

Don't see it if you are looking for a feel-good comedy. All of the characters here are pretty damaged and there are no easy answers.

78
Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You want to see a play about high school bullying. You want to see a play about a mother with a son that needs counseling.

Don't see it if The subject of bullying bothers you. Rude and obnoxious behavior towards the mothers boyfriend bothers you.

Also I thought the performers did a very good job in this performance. I di... Read more Read less

69
Relevant, Resonant, Indulgent

See it if you want to see a play about bullying in high school. With some stretch of your imagination it can remind you of Dear Evan Hansen.

Don't see it if Not in the mood for another play about bullying. The writing is uneven and the play itself needs a more plausible ending.

80
Delightful

See it if you want see a nice gritty show with some surprises. The acting is good, very nice show.

Don't see it if you are sick of stories about kids getting bullied

Also When I walk into a theater like this I always root for the show to be ... Read more Read less

74
Funny, Ambitious, Confusing, Predictable, Seen that before

See it if You was bulled in the childhood

Don't see it if You feel it personal

75
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Predictable

See it if You're interested in seeing a well acted, very real feeling show about being a misfit and being bullied and cause/effect of homophobia.

Don't see it if You hope to see anything more than what amounts to a very accurate portrayal of the situation without any sort of ideas for change.

Also When I say it's predictable I don't "necessarily" mean it in a bad way... Read more Read less

78
Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great writing

See it if You enjoy Dear Evan Hansen. This is also a story about losers, and it is superbly written for most of the parts.

Don't see it if You are tired of teenager stories. The ending is disappointing though, the transition of the protagonist was too abrupt.

Also I would have scored it over 85 if the ending was believable. The story... Read more Read less

70
Intense, Resonant, Cliched, Slow, Great staging

See it if You are interested in an exploration of teen issues, bullying and the painful side of growing up.

Don't see it if You can't tolerate depictions of violence or stories involving guns. You are looking for a deep, nuanced look at high school life.

88
Absorbing, Intelligent, Resonant, Great writing, Topical

See it if Constantly rang true play about bullying. No loose ends. Quirky kid who loves birds but can't (& doesn't want to) fit in. Painfully true~

Don't see it if Some uneven acting & a few questionable ommissions to the story. At times this play will make you uncomfortable because bullying is so real~

80
Absorbing, Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Relevant

See it if you are interested in contemporary themes of bullying and teen angst

Don't see it if you don't care for themes of suicide and personal relationships

Also An attempt at portraying teen angst through actions of bullying and lo... Read more Read less

69
Well meaning x good acting x clichéd

See it if you want to see some good young actors tackle a serious subject,bullying, (both cyber and physical).

Don't see it if you don't want clichés & a sometimes less than believable story lines. Only one character is genuinely likeable.

75
Derivative, Thought-provoking, Entertaining, Genuine, Awkward staging

See it if You enjoy a mix of well-developed believable leads and derivative secondary characters, mostly genuine sounding dialogue, and raw teen angst

Don't see it if You don't like when characters sometimes (rarely) sound like they're just reciting lines, & don't like shows dealing with issues of suicide.

Also Overall entertaining show. The character Dylan was a giant stereotype ... Read more Read less

60
Ambitious, Resonant, Disappointing, Cliched, Slow

See it if You like new age story's and want to hear one from a new perspective

Don't see it if Like a more put together script and are over teenage obnoxiousness

82
Intelligent, Profound, Relevant

See it if If you want to better understand how hard it is to grow up and be yourself. When youth finds passion in life they become a "Rare Bird". 🐥🦅

Don't see it if If you are narrow minded and don't want to think. Good theater has take away value and you think about the hardship and beauty of life.🐥🦅

72
Intense, Relevant, Resonant

See it if .. you want to be reminded of your high school years .. you like complex characters in the modern setting

Don't see it if .. you didn't have a childhood .. you don't like drama

85
Funny, Intense, Relevant, Charming, Realistic

See it if you want to see a solid new play with realistically portrayed teens that addresses bullying, and owning who you are & the things you love.

Don't see it if you would be made too uncomfortable by the depictions of bullying and violence (including guns) and themes of depression and suicide.

Also I always appreciate seeing teenagers actually behaving and talking lik... Read more Read less

81
Ambitious, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Profound

See it if You like modern day dramas with a quick pace and a simplistic acting style.

Don't see it if Slow starts aren't your thing, or you don't care about the young adult struggle with social media and cyber bullying.

85
Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Entertaining, Fun

See it if You are or relate to teen issues. But I think everyone would enjoy it.

Don't see it if You don't like when projected text messages are used as a narrative tool.

80
Funny, Relevant, Charming, Sweet, Genuine

See it if you like when teens behave like real (awkward, complicated) teens, and you can accept a little unevenness in a play for a worthwhile payoff.

Don't see it if you're uncomfortable with heavy themes (including bullying and suicide), or if you focus on a show's weaknesses rather than strengths.

Also This play uses certain tropes and cliches to toy with expectations, a ... Read more Read less