Zombie Flick without the Zombies: Guthrie’s New Production of The Birds

Take a contemporary, character-driven psychological thriller zombie flick where all of the characters have taken refuge in a remote farm house.  Remove all guts, gore, and zombies, add the sound of birds attacking.  Translate that to stage and you have the Guthrie’s new production of Conor McPherson’s adaptation of The Birds.

During last night’s preview the pace of the play was achingly slow at points but I’m sure they’ll tighten that up by opening night.  Over all, it was a very nice evening.

The most remarkable thing: the set is amazing, with wonderful attention to detail.  The most annoying thing: to make the sound of birds attacking windows and doors, they had a person kicking/pounding on the door.  That sound would be impossible for a bird to make (besides possibly Big Bird).  At first it left me wondering “Who’s outside? Maybe there really are zombies.” then it just became a nuisance.

We Theoroi had conversations with Sound Designer Scott Edwards and Assistant Director Amanda Friou before the show, which was a good way to prepare for seeing the first preview of a new play.  Edwards was quietly casual but got everyone riled up when he started talking about why he loves working in live theater what it’s like to work as a sound designer.  Friou did a great job of explaining all the work that had led up to the evenings performance and how many people it takes to put on a production like this.

After the show, we debriefed in the Guthrie’s Kitchak Lounge over wine and snacks.  Not surprising, it’s possible to get a lot more out of a play when you have 25 people to unpack the show with afterwords.  There were many very cool angles on the characters and the plot that I simply wouldn’t have noticed if others hadn’t pointed them out.

After the after party, a handful of us retired to Zen Box Izakaya on Washington.  I was delighted!  Finally a place to get Takoyaki in Minneapolis! And they’re open late! And the Takoyaki is really good!

Musings & Adventures

Acquiring great street food in London

The most fundamental rule when acquiring street food anywhere: get it when it’s fresh. Minimize bacterial growth by minimizing the time
between the fryer and your gullet.

How to apply this rule in London or anywhere in the UK:

Go out drinking in a place where there are lots of young people partying. Drink at a destination that is 1) busy and 2) at least six
blocks from your nearest mass transit depot. Get pissed with your friends and head towards the mass transit depot at traditional closing time (12:00 am in London), not at club closing time (about 3:00 am in London). Walk to your destination via the most populace route possible. Along the way, you are nearly guaranteed to encounter multiple “chip shops” or “kebab shops”.  They are very likely to be selling doner. Choose the shop with either a) the biggest crowd, b) the most people working behind the counter, or c) the least meat remaining on the doner spit.  Give preference to places that sell “chips” over places that sell “french fries”.

You know you’ve hit the jackpot if the fryer is in constant use and the people running the counter are so efficient that you feel like you are on a conveyor belt rather while the food is being prepared with practiced skill.

As always, you should see all of your food prepared in front of you. 

In London, it seems customary to eat street food on buses but not on the tube . Never leave garbage on mass transit here. Take it with you and drop it in one of the trash bins on the street.

I personally enjoy a small chicken doner with chips. I ask for everything (all of the “salad”) on the doner with no hot sauce. Vinegar, salt and ketchup are essential on chips.