by James Saunders

James Saunders - Birdsong

BBC Radio 3

Broadcast: Wednesday 1st October 1980

There's a lot to be said about the tranquil pleasures of a sheltered life. Good conversation and stimulating company with all material needs catered for. The contemplating life seems especially attractive if the alternative is freedom in an outside world beset by danger.

In "Birdsong", the 'songs' of Tinker and Joey are, in fact, philosophical dialogues of Wittgensteinian complexity, as they fuss about their cage up and down the little ladder, ringing the little bell, bemoaning the scarcity of cuttlefish, and checking their plumage in the little mirror. But events take a darker turn when into their cage is thrust voluble dissident Trixie, whose insistent squawks for freedom both disrupt the aimless but pleasant twittering of the others and threaten the pecking order.

Adapted for radio from James Saunders's stage play, "Birdsong", written for the Richmond Fringe and first performed at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, Surrey, on 5th August 1979.

With Dinsdale Landen [Joey], Nigel Hawthorne [Tinker], and Beth Porter [Trixie].

The bird impressions were by Percy Edwards.

Produced by Matthew Walters.

50 min.


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