CARRION BIRDS is a one-act play developed through Fredericton’s NotaBle Acts Festival during the summer of 2018. The script was edited in accordance with criticism and advice from dramaturge, director, and professor Len Falkenstein before a production that opened on August 2nd (read a review of the show here). The show was directed by Robbie Lynn, and starred Ryan Griffith, Kat Hall, and Kyle Bech.
- RONA, twenty three years old. Fit, pragmatic, self-sufficient. Wears a plaid flannel shirt, chinos, suspenders, and work boots. Her clothes are dirty and worn from work but fairly new and in good condition.
- CORBIN, her uncle. Fifty nine years of age. Capable and independent. Dresses similarly to Rona but with less care, and in clothes that are much older, and have seen some repairs.
- SURVEY, a company man. Mid thirties. Hiking boots, khaki cargos, a button-down uniform. A vest and pack with tools of the trade.
A crabapple orchard on Corbin’s homestead, deep in the woods of Burntland. There is a weather-worn easy-chair to the right of center stage; around it are scattered a few empty beer bottles. Attached to the downstage arm of the chair is a bottle opener. At stage left, near the wings, there is a neat stack of unsplit cord wood, with a chopping block next to it toward center stage. Split wood has been tossed without care into a pile on the far side of the easy-chair, downstage. In the background, gnarled crabapple trunks twist and squirm their way up into limbs that, heavy with fruit, droop and loom over the orchard.
Corbin’s father committed dark deeds in the depths of the eldritch forests to gain rights to the land, and made grave sacrifices to ensure that he could carve out a home that would support himself and his family for generations. No one is more aware than Corbin, who has held sole stewardship over the homestead since the old man’s passing, which was long preceded by the departure of Corbin’s brother for greener pastures. However, the arrival of Rona, his niece, means unexpectedly facing the prospect of one day handing down the family legacy, along with the history, the traditions, and the blood embedded there.
Near the end of her first year of ‘education’ at the hand of her uncle, Rona is eager to receive what she has been promised. Corbin hasn’t yet been convinced that she’s ready for the responsibilities and obligations that come with the land. And on the evening that commemorates contracts signed in blood and flesh with the primal spirits that hold sway over the land, a stranger interrupts the ritual preparations.
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