Visuals from The Birds (of Fall 2002) @ CSU, Chico

Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz / Professor of Anthropology
California State University, Chico / Chico, California 95929-0400
530-898-6220 [Office]; 530-898-6192 [Dept.]; 530-898-6824 [FAX]
e-mail: / home page:

2 December 2002 [1] 

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Corrupt politics, choked law courts, long bitter war. Sound familiar?

That's right, it's the spring of 414 BC, and two frustrated citizens flee the chaos of Athens for the simple life in the country where they join up with a bunch of birds to build the paradise called Cloudcuckooland. "The Birds" is a witty parody of civic life and responsibility by Aristophanes that is guaranteed to tickle your funny bone and feed your thoughts, said Lammel. "We want the audience to leave breathless, laughing, light-hearted, delighted, and amazed," she said.

Retaining elements from ancient Greece such as the style of dress and much of Aristophanes' original script while adding a decidedly modern twist, the cast and crew of "The Birds" wants its audience to appreciate how much they still have in common with the ancient Greek theatre goers who saw the original play way back when. The design of the set as well as the lighting are the handiwork of Jaye Beetem, new faculty member in the Department of Theatre Arts. This is Beteem's first year with the Theatre Department and she has created a decaying, ancient Greek temple where the birds have been cast off from mainstream society. "The set is wonderful," said Lammel. "She has created a space that is both fun for the actors to work in as well as enjoyable for the audience."

Included in the production will be a Greek chorus, a staple of any Greek play, although Lammel has taken some liberties with the Greek chorus format for "The Birds." The droning laments of a typical Greek chorus will be replaced with singing and dancing that is more typical of a Broadway production. "The Birds" will still have examples of what many deem to be the more traditional manner of presenting choral chanting and dancing, "but we'll also have Broadway jazz dance, line dancing, and swing dancing," said Lammel. Choreographers contributing to the production include Jarrah Myles (who also does makeup for the production), Sheree Henning, Giovanna Henery, and Lammel. In charge of costumes for "The Birds" is Department of Theatre Arts costume designer Sandra Barton, who has created a colorful array of exotic costumes for the birds as well as the human characters. "Sandra has done amazing work with character, color and movement, making the costumes funny, whimsical, sexy, silly, and imaginative -- it will be worth the price of admission just to see them!"

"The Birds" will feature veteran CSU, Chico actor Jarrod Rothstein in the lead role of Makemedo. Rothstein was the star of the past two Chico State Spring Musicals, "The Will Rogers Follies" in 2001 and "The Pajama Game" last spring. Makemedo's right-hand man is Goodhope, played by Marcus Sams, who also plays the roles of Heracles, Meton, and the Priest. The leader of the land of the birds before Makemedo and Goodhope get there is the Hoopoe, played by Troy Anthony Harris, who also plays two other roles -- Poseidon and the Prophet. Mike Anderson plays Prometheus, the Poet, and the Lawyer. Key female characters include Procne the Hoopoe's wife, Manes, Iris, and the Divine Princess, played by Nicole Sershon, Ashley DeCarli, Jennifer Pfeiffer, and Ellen Wilcox respectively. Lammel said she has tried to preserve the form and the intent of Aristophanes' play. The process of examining his play and researching the era in which it was presented has led her to the conclusion that theatre in Aristophanes' day is pretty much the same as theatre being presented in 2002.

"We treasure this art form of Greek Theatre and its long tradition. And we have all been so creative and collaborative as we have worked to produce this fantastical and delightful interpretation for our Chico audiences." "The Birds" is being presented jointly by CSU, Chico's School of the Arts and the Department of Theatre Arts. [from:]




Jarrod Rothstein

Goodhope / Priestbird / Meton / Heracles

Marcus Sams

Servant Bird / Inspector / Jerkoffalot

Dusty Kimura

Hoopoe / Prophet / Poseidon

Troy Anthony Harris

Poet / Lawyer / Promethus

Mike Anderson

Chorus Leader

Taryne Moyse

Guard / Chorus Bird

Ginger Hanner

Messenger 1 / Chorus Bird

Katherine Nelson

Messenger 2 / Chorus Bird

Katie Suverkrop

Procne / Chorus Bird

Nicole Sershon


Ashley DeCarli


Jennifer Pfeifer

Divine Princess / Chorus Understudy

Ellen Wilcox


A long time ago and right now.
A ruined temple somewhere in Greece…

Birds was first produced by Aristophanes in 414 B.C.E., at the Dionysia Festival in the city of Athens. 

Regarding Old (or Aristophonic) Comedy, Professor Ian Storey of Canada's Trent Universtiy writes:

"....ask the reader to imagine a dramatic combination of the slapstick of The Three Stooges, the song and dance of a Broadway musical, the verbal wit of W. S. Gilbert or of a television show like Frasier, the exuberence of Mardi Gras, the open-ended plot line of the Simpsons, the parody of a Mel Brooks' movie, the political satire of Doonesbury, the outrageous sexuality of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and the fantasy of J.R.R. Tolkien wrapped up in the format of a Monty Python movie." 
High thoughts must have high language. Aristophanes, Frogs, 405 BCE 

You have all the characteristics of a popular politition: a horrible voice, bad breeding, and a vulgar manner.-- Aristophanes, Knights, 424 BCE 

A man's homeland is wherever he prospers.-- Aristophanes, Plutus, 388 BCE

Under every stone lurks a politician.-- Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae, 410 BCE 

Let each man exercise the art he knows.--Aristophanes, Wasps, 422 BCE 

This is what extremely grieves us, that a man who never fought
Should contrive our fees to pilfer, on who for his native land
Never this to this day had oar, or lance, or blister in his hand.
Aristophanes, Wasps, 422 BCE



Cynthia Lammel

Musical Director & Accompanist

Eric Nordin

Scenic & Lighting Designer

Jaye Beetem

Assistant Lighting Designer

Steve Remund

Costume Designer

Sandra Barton

Makeup Designer

Jarrah Myles

Properties Designers

Jarrod L. Rothstein, Allison H. Ward


Cynthia Lammel, Jarrah Myles, Sherree Henning

Swing Dance Choreographer

Giovanna Leah

Fight Choreographer

Ashley DeCarli

Technical Director

Pete M. Austin

Poster Designer

Jami Smith



Production Manager

Michael Johnson

Faculty Costume Design Supervisor

Gail Holbrook

Faculty Lighting Design Supervisor

Jaye Beetem

HFA/School of the Arts Publicist

J. Paul DiMaggio

Scene Shop Foreman

Pete M. Austin

Scenic Artist

David Beasley

Costume Shop Foreman

Sandra Barton

Costume Shop Technician

Hattie Gomez

Properties Supervisors

Jarrod L. Rothstein, Allison H. Ward


Stage Manager

Allison H. Ward

Assistant Stage Manager

Donya J. Walling

Light Board Operator

Serena LaRossa

Prop Crew

Ashley DeCarli, Kelly Smith, Kathryn Raley, Natisa Hobbs

Wardrobe Crew

Amanda Runyan, Donovan Boyle, Shannon Masterson

Make-up Crew

Andrew Wilson, Alyssa Grasso, Michael Biggs

Costume Shop Crew

April Carmo, Julia D. Dalton, Diane Gans, Karla Gilbert, Gabrielle Guglielmelli, Kathleen Otey, Heather Kosloff, Taryne Moyse, Cindy Nava

Costume Class Help

Jenny Rand, Ashley Monroe, Erin Hah


Theatre 76 Class, Steve Remund, Adrian Torres, Kenny MacPherson


Tyler M. Bennett, Ashley DeCarli, Jordan Elias, Chris Harper, Rye Johnson, Dustin Kimura, Rich Matli, Chizuru Matsumoto, Alexis Morann, Taryne Moyse, Jenny Rand, Vincent Ressa, Katie Suverkrop, Kazuhiro Umemoto, Jesus Valencia, Andrew Wilson, Satoko Yanagi


Chizuru Matsumoto, Satoko Yanagi

HFA/School of the Arts Publicity Assistant

Brett Gilbreath

Publicity Intern

Dana Buchanan

Poster Distribution

Brett Gilbreath, Danielle Connolly

Publicity Photography

J. Paul DiMaggio


Brett Gilbreath


Poster Designer: Jami Smith

The Birds: Scenery and Lighting by Jaye Beetem.

"A ruined temple somewhere in Greece...."
Manes (Ashley DeCarli), Goodhope (Marcus Sams), and Makemedo (Jarrod Rothstein).

Goodhope (Marcus Sams), Manes (Ashley DeCarli), and Makemedo (Jarrod Rothstein).

Goodhope (Marcus Sams and Makemedo (Jarrod Rothstein).

Hoopoe (Troy Anthony Harris) and Servant Bird (Dusty Kimura).
Procne / Chorus Bird (Nicole Sershon).

Chorus Leader (Taryne Moyse).
Chorus Bird (Katie Suverkrop).
Chorus Bird (Ginger Hanner).
Chorus Bird (Katherine Nelson).

The Chorus Birds (Katie Suverkop, Ginger Hanner, Nicole Sershon, Katherine Nelson, and Taryne Moyse).

Makemedo (Jarrod Rothstein), Priestbird (Marcus Sams), and Manes (Ashley DeCarli).
The Prophet (Troy Anthony Harris).
Jerkoffalot (Dusty Kimura).

The Power of the Prophet (Troy Anthony Harris).

Heracles (Marcus Sams), Poseidon (Troy Anthony Harris), and Jerkoffalot (Dusty Kimura).

Makemedo (Jarrod Rothstein) and Poseidon (Mike Anderson).
Iris (Jennifer Pfeifer).
Makemedo (Jarrod Rothstein) and Divine Princess (Ellen Wilcox).

Almost The Entire Cast.


The beginning of the end of Cloudcuckooland.

Part of the "magic" of The Birds.
Part of the "magic" of The Birds.

Deconstruction of Cloudcuckooland Continues.


Katie Suverkrop, Katherine Nelson, and Taryne Moyse.

Manes (Ashley DeCarli).
Eric Norden (Musical Director & Accompanist) and Poseidon (Troy Anthony Harris).
The Poet (Mike Anderson).

Jarra Myles (Makeup Designer as well as one of the Choreographers).
Julia Dalton (Member of the Costume Shop Crew). Photo by....
Tyler M. Bennet (one of the carpenters). From a photo by Reed Davis.
April Carmo (Member of the Costume Shop Crew).

Adrian Torres (one of the electricians for The Birds).
Steve Remund (one of the electricians for The Birds).

Ashley DeCarli.
Ashley DeCarli.

The Temple Is Coming Down!

The Ending!
The Last Piece.

Donya J. Walling (Assistant Stage Manager).
Allison H. Ward (Stage Manager) and Cynthia Lammel (Director). [Chico Enterprise-Record Review, "'Birds' at Chico State more than a wing and a prayer," by Alan Sheckter, November 14, 2002] [Chico News & Review Review, "Naked as a Jaybird," by John W. Young, November 7, 2002]

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2002a [The New Moon. For the CSU, Chico Fall 2002 operetta, Directed by Professor Joel Rogers, October 23-27, 2002.)

2002b [Street Scene of 1929: By Elmer Leopold Rice (1892->1967.] For the CSU, Chico Spring 2002 production of Street Scene, Directed by Professor Randy Wonzong, March 6-10, 2002.

2001a [A Few Mark Beal Specifics.] For the CSU, Chico Summer 2001 Court Theatre Memories and More (Sixth Annual Benefit Performance, June 10, 2001).

2001b [On Mark A. Beal.] For the CSU, Chico Summer 2001 Court Theatre Memories and More (Sixth Annual Benefit Performance, June 10, 2001).

2001c (Dramaturge information for the CSU, Chico Spring 2001 production of The Miss Firecracker Contest, Directed by Professor Sue Pate, April 3-8.)

2000a Reprised the role of "Reverend Dr. Harper" (Arsenic and Old Lace) for the CSU, Chico Summer 2000 Court Theatre Potpourri (Fifth Annual Benefit Performance, June 11, 2000).

2000b Dramaturge and performed as "Dr. Gaspard Jadin" & "Sewer Man" in the CSU, Chico Spring 2000 production of Jean Giradoux's The Madwoman of Chaillot (March 7-12), directed by Dr. Sue Pate. Please click here for the makeup design of Dr. Jadin and here for how it was eventually portrayed; and please click here for the rendition of "Sewer Man" and here for how it was eventually portrayed.

2000c (Chaillot Words Miscellaneous for the March 7->12 CSU, Chico Production of The Madwoman of Chaillot)

1999a Performed as "Reverend Dr. Harper" in the Fall 1999 Encore! (Chico Community Production) of Arsenic and Old Lace (November 5-14), directed by Gary Hibbs.

1999b Performed as "Ferapont Spiridonych" in the CSU, Chico Spring 1999 production of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters, directed by Dr. Sue Pate (March 10-14); please see here for Sandra L. Barton's rendition of Ferapont and how portrayed).

1999c (Phrases From Ferapont Spiridonych, also known as Charlie Urbanowicz: For The Production of Anton Chekov's Three Sisters, Directed by Dr. Sue Pate, March 10-14,1999.

1998 Performed as "Russian Intruder" in See How They Run (one of the CSU, Chico 1998 Summer Court Theatre ensemble productions), directed by Dr. Sue Pate (July 7-11).

1996a Performed as a "waiter" in La Boheme in the CSU, Chico Fall 1996 production, directed by Professor Gwen Curatilo (November 12-17).

1996b Performed as "Dr. Amos D. Keller" in Inherit The Wind in the CSU, Chico Spring 1996 production, directed by Dr. Randy Wonzong (March 12-17).


2001 [Charles Darwin: - Part Two: The Voyage (2001). ~Twenty-two Minutes. Darwin from South America, through the Galápagos Islands, and back to England.] Edited by Ms. Vilma Hernandez and Produced by Ms. Donna Crowe: Instructional Media Center, CSU, Chico. Available via the Internet with REAL PLAYER [

1999 [Charles Darwin: - Part One: The Voyage (1999). ~Twenty-two Minutes. Darwin sailing from England to South America.] Produced and Edited by Ms. Donna Crowe: Instructional Media Center, CSU, Chico. Available via the Internet with REAL PLAYER [

1997 [Charles Darwin: Reflections - Part One: The Beginning (1997). ~Seventeen Minutes. Darwin in England]. Produced and Edited by Ms. Donna Crowe: Instructional Media Center, CSU, Chico. Available via the Internet with REAL PLAYER [  

[1] © All rights reserved. For the fall 2002 CSU, Chico campus production (November 12-17) of The Birds, directed by Professor Cynthia Lammel. To return to the beginning of this page, please click here.

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[2,321 words]} 2 December 2002

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To go to the home page of Urbanowicz, please click here;

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© [Copyright 2002: All Rights Reserved] Charles F. Urbanowicz

2 December 2002 by cfu

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