In I Said This To the Bird, four strangers accidentally meet and explore their dual senses of alienation as refugees in the midst of a city-wide pandemic lockdown.

Four strangers, all Iranian men (for this production, a woman performs one of the man’s roles), are congregating in the hall of a migrant resource center somewhere in Melbourne. Their meeting coincides with the lifting of public health restrictions that have prohibited social gatherings and kept the city silent and in lockdown for many weeks. While all city residents have suffered during this unprecedented period of immobility, for recently arrived asylum seekers and refugees, the enforced isolation has been an especially gruelling and emotionally turbulent ordeal.

In their coming together at the migrant resource centre, Arjang, Wahid, Sara, and Noshan take the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions, from anxiety to hostility, paranoia, alienation, and anger, cut across by brief moments of hope and exhilaration. I said this to the Bird confronts its audience with the destabilising experience of being displaced and othered, the frailty and thinness of friendship, and the challenges of enduring unrelenting hurt, loneliness and abandonment. Amid such psychologically unsettling circumstances, there is palpable relief in small moments that dissolve this anxious intensity—in recalled memories of home, in glimpses of laughter and love, in wrestling with writing to give voice to unspeakable experiences, and, for one of them, in conversations with a bird which provides a constant ear at a time when there is no one else to listen.

This plays is about gazing, observing, searching in empty spaces,  expressing, and reflecting on being of oneself and others within one’s own culture and the host culture in times of loneliness hoping for being heard and recognised.

“I said this to the Bird” is a physical play staged in Persian.
There will be English copies of the play, which is translated by Mammad Aidani, at the door at La Mama Courthouse for those who wish to obtain one to read.

Date: Mon 7 August 2023 - Sun 13 August 2023


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