Beginning Friday the Hallberg Theatre will become an open aviary with an undecided fate in the play Five Flights by Adam Bock, directed by James R. Taulli.
The production touches on the common and conflicting themes of love and grief when two siblings, Adele and Ed, inherit a grand aviary, or a large cage-like structure that houses birds, after the death of their father.
Adele and Ed’s father built the aviary for his deceased wife, and believed that it held the soul of his wife in the form of a wren.
Conflict arises once the siblings inherit the aviary and can’t decide the fate of the crumbling structure.
The story balances on family, religious conviction, loss, rejection, letting go of the past and moving forward.
Director James R. Taulli is drawn to the story because it touches on reality and ordinary modern life.
In Five Flights, there is a courtship between Ed and Tom, a gay professional hockey player.
This sub plot of a blooming romance plays a key role in the story, in which their feelings towards one another affects their choices for the aviary.
“I am interested in the play because of the themes it contains. Also, Adam Bock is a gay playwright who represents gay life as ordinary. In other words, the fact that some of the characters are gay is of no consequence when looking at the bigger issues of loss, rejection and moving forward,” Taulli said.
Five Flights is an adaptation produced completely by the students of the theatre department and is as unique as the strengths of each individual of the production.
“Theatre is a unique art form because it demands collaboration. It requires artists of differing disciplines to work together,” said Taulli. “The collaboration with the actors and the designers is this production’s greatest strength.”
However, collaboration is something the characters of Five Flights struggle with. Each character has his or her own agenda for the abandoned aviary.
Sister-in-law, Jane, wants to build new houses in place of the aviary, but family friend Olivia prefers the idea of building a church called The Church of the Fifth Day in honor to the biblical fifth day of creation and birds.
Less hopeful, Ed would rather have the building fall to the ground.
The Five Flights’ script is a flawless integration of cheeky repartee and insightful monologues, which will inspire audience members to really stop to think.
Although Five Flights incorporates powerful themes, the story is still set as a comedic drama, or what some would call, a dramedy.
“(Audiences can look forward to) a thought provoking evening of laughter and heartbreak,” Taulli said.
One of the most beloved and interesting elements in theatre is being able to take on an outside approach into the basic truths of humanity in certain situations.
There are several given situations where it’s easy for an audience member to wonder what he or she would do with an inherited aviary that is said to have his or her mother’s soul in it.
The question is harder than it seems because of all the other elements including history, love and ambition.
“For me, it would depend on the circumstance,” Taulli responded. “Because this a play and not real life, the circumstances of these characters are unique and the decisions they make regarding the aviary are based on many personal issues.”
It’s an intricate and unique story, woven into each character that essentially builds the clashing plot.
Five Flights runs from Feb. 22 to March 17 at the Hallberg Theatre. Tickets are on sale for $11 or $10 dollars with the advanced Titan Discount.