Bird House

INTERVIEW WITH MARINA by sportivetricks
July 19, 2009, 11:33 am
Filed under: News | Tags: , , , ,

BIRD HOUSE director Heidi Handelsman, playwright Kate Marks, and the 3 lady-producers of The KNF Co partook in a lively discussion about the play and women in theatre with award-winning podcast interviewer MARINA.


The Dream Team: Casting BIRD HOUSE by heidihandelsman
June 7, 2009, 8:29 am
Filed under: Casting | Tags: , , , , , ,

Rehearsals for Bird House are about to start! Everyone keeps saying to me, “I can’t wait to see how you’re gonna do all that stuff!” And I always reply, “Neither can I!” Time to dig in, and discover how it all goes.

We’ve already started on these impossible happenings, in fact, thanks to two fantastic groups of people.

First of all, our design team is stellar. Seriously. These people are creative geniuses.

And, of course, our actors are amazing. We gathered ourselves together a few weeks ago for a workshop, and our theatrical experimentation proved quite fruitful. We tried out some new vocabularies, solved some challenges, and unearthed challenges we didn’t even realize we were facing.

One challenge that the Kate, KNF team and I managed to conquer last month, pre-workshop even, was casting this thing in the first place. The caliber of actor who showed up to audition was through the roof! It was like an embarrassment of riches. The whittling-down process caused long meetings and sleepless nights. But it all paid off, because we definitely landed on the right folks for the job. The magnetic Christina Shipp, the sparkly Cotton Wright, the high-spirited Wendy Scharfman, the sprightly Kylie Goldstein, and the nimble Anthony Willis and Ora Fruchter are already rocking my socks off.

Oh, we had so many wild ideas about how to cast this play! Back in April, we brainstormed a few versions of fantasy casts. Not really “this is how we should cast the play” casts, more like, “wouldn’t it be funny/awesome if…” casts. My favorites:

The Big Name New York Actors cast: Mary Louise Parker as Louisy, Cynthia Nixon as Syl
The 80s sitcom cast: Betty White as Louisy, Bea Arthur as Syl, Rue MacLanahan as Rita, and Estelle Getty as Myra
The SNL cast: Amy Pohler as Louisy, Tina Fey as Syl
The sure-to-bring-in-a-big-audience cast: George Clooney, in every role. Naked.

OK, full disclosure, there was wine present when we came up with these ideas. We were at my apartment, reading the script out loud, just for ourselves. It was a great way to reconnect with the script, and it hurtled Kate into a massive rewriting adventure. In case you’re curious, casting in my living room was as follows: Heidi as Louisy, Tzip as Syl, Kelly as Myra, Kate as Rita, and Katherine as everyone else.

But enough of dreaming up these wild dreams from the confines of my apartment, or coffee shops with brilliant designers! Time for the rehearsal alchemy to begin!

-Heidi Handelsman

Welcome to the Lop Side, Soldier by sportivetricks
June 6, 2009, 5:19 pm
Filed under: Notes on the Play | Tags: , , ,

“Kate Marks has accomplished what other writers only dream about.”– Ashley Griffin, TheaterOnline.Com

a lovely and well-executed fairy tale.– Will Fulton, NYTheatre.Com

“…full of stunning imagery.– Amy Freeman, OffOffOnline.Com

Heidi Handelsman has conjured this fantasy so fully that even though we see the puppeteers through the life-size windows of this hand-crafted bird house (Sara C. Walsh’s set), we remain raptly dreaming Aaron Riccio , That Sounds Cool


Cotton Wright* and Christina Shipp are Louisy and Syl in BIRD HOUSE (photo by Marcus Woollen)

Welcome to the official website of BIRD HOUSE, an impossible new play by Kate Marks. It’s a coming of age story for an age under seige, when everyday what we thought was impossible is suddenly at our doorstep.

Below, you will find the production blog, regularly updated with new developments in the process of creating this singular event.  Check back often to keep abreast,  or subscribe to our RSS feed.

BIRD HOUSE is an AEA approved showcase opening July 10th @ Theater 3 and closing on July 26th.  For more information on ticket sales and directions, click HERE.

Click the TheaterMania button to purchase tickets, only $18.


*Member of AEA

Auditions: May 6th – 8th, 7-10PM Midtown by sportivetricks
April 23, 2009, 2:19 pm
Filed under: Casting | Tags: , ,


World Premiere of a New Play

VENUE: Theatre 3


SALARY: Transportation



DIRECTOR: Heidi Handelsman


1st REHEARSAL: 6/16



Auditions will be held in midtown Manhattan on May 6th-8th, 7-10pm each evening. BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. Please send headshot and resume to Please include your phone number and email address. Sides will be provided. Callbacks will be held in midtown Manhattan on May 9th, 4-8pm.

NOTE: Bird House is a fantastical story of two young women who live together in a tree house, until one decides she must leave home to become a hero out in the world. It’s a coming-of-age fable, and an exploration of how we understand war from what we think is a safe distance. For more info, please visit


LOUISY – Female, 20s-30s, any ethnicity. Full of sunshine, youthful, emotional, excitable, naïve. Needs looking after, and knows it. Positive attitude, shameless in her pursuit of her (very simple) desires and needs. A homebody, yet ethereal. Likes to sing – vocal training is not required, although the ability to carry a tune is essential. Clown training/experience helpful but not required.

SYL – Female, 20s-30s, any ethnicity. Youthful, but tougher and more grounded than Louisy. A sharp-shooter who wants to be a hero. She is concerned about matters of justice, and has a hunger for whatever is out there. Fancies herself more worldly than Louisy, but is still quite naïve.  Sings sometimes – vocal training is not required, although the ability to carry a tune is desired. Clown training/experience helpful but not required.

MYRA – Female, 8-13, any ethnicity. Curious, suspicious, likes to be in charge. High-energy, good at pretending. She has no family, so she is on her own and knows how to fend for herself – she’s something of a stray cat. A self-proclaimed authority on the world with a powerful imagination. The character is eight-years-old, and the actor should be able to play that age.

RITA – Female, 55-70, any ethnicity. A born caretaker and authority figure. Warm, fun to be around, knows how to tell a good joke and throw a good party. Knows the old wives’ cures for everything. Wise to the point of knowing the future. Slightly mystical. Mostly unshakable.

Also seeking TWO PUPPETEERS (age and gender unimportant) to bring to life a mischievous pair of cuckoos set free from the clock, an army of ants, a pet inchworm, a flock of ferocious birds with loose morals and poor hygiene, and many other moving things.

From the Director… by heidihandelsman
April 18, 2009, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Notes on the Play | Tags: , ,

When Kate first told me about Bird House the play was so young it did not have a name yet. We had collaborated previously a couple of times, so I already knew her penchant for writing impossibilities. She had already presented me with the challenges of staging a sentient shadow, a woman turning into a tree, and a young couple flying into the sky. I had already come to treasure every curve ball she throws into her plays.

When she mentioned to me that she had begun to write a new play, I was already excited. I asked, “Do impossible things happen?” She giggled and confessed, “A bird flies out of a girl’s mouth!” I replied: “Bring it.”

Bird House is packed with impossibilities, too numerous and fantastic to list. But more exciting still is the story these impossible things spell out and the questions they beg of us. The play explores tragedies wrought by war and by time. It wants to know: what is the best way to grow up? Is there a way to grow up without being hurt and hurting others? How do we reconcile the call of the unknown with our commitments to those we love at home?

Bird House tells the story of a handful of people who, like everyone, have to learn things the hard way. And with lessons safely stowed in a back pocket, all we can do is pick up the pieces and bury the dead, do the laundry and maybe apologize to the neighbors, and reconcile all the impossible things that went ahead and happened just the same.