Flock of Foul

Folger Theatre's ''The Conference of the Birds'' offers some charming flights of fancy – but also tactless fowl flatulence

So then what exactly is the point, the message of this fable? In his Director’s Note, Posner writes that it’s as confusing and daunting as life itself, and suggests that, ”What you take away from it depends largely on what you are willing to bring to it.”

The Conference of the Birds
starstar 1/2
To Nov. 25
Folger Theatre
$30 to $68
202-544-7077
www.folger.edu

Essentially, the play’s lesson seems to be that there’s a fine line between self-discovery and vanity. As head hoopoe, Patty Gallagher is the almost schoolmarm-like leader of this flock of birds, and guides them through several parables about being more considerate, caring, selfless. She eventually leads them on a far-flung quest across barren deserts and stormy seas, all in pursuit of a mythical bird king, the Simorgh. In the end, they only find a mirror. Is that supposed to be Simorgh’s way of telling the birds – and us – to do more reflecting, as the hoopoe infers? Surely, it shouldn’t be taken as a sign for more preening.

Or, heaven help us, more flatulence.

Doug Rule is a theater critic and contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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