University of Scranton Players to Present Updated Greek Comedy

Sep 23, 2016

The University of Scranton Players first show of the 2016-17 season will be a new version of the Classical Greek comedy “The Birds” by Aristophanes. The new version by Brian Reno and Gabriel Vega Weissman, commissioned by The University of Scranton, updates the ancient Greek play, bringing it from 414 BCE into 2016.

Performance dates are Friday through Sunday, Sept 23-25 and Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the Joseph M. McDade Center for Literary and Performing Arts on the University’s campus.

Aristophanes’ tale focuses on a duo of discontented citizens who establish a utopia and build a wall to shield them from the gods. In this new version, the idea of a wall to keep people out is imbued with resonance from our contemporary political climate, questioning if we’re ever able to keep out those that we don’t feel belong. Reno and Weissman attacked the adaptation by updating numerous references from the original while attempting to stay to the spirit of the ancient Greeks.

“Humor has a shelf life,” Weissman said. “Our goal is to ask what it means to present a Greek comedy to a modern audience and at The University of Scranton.”

The production features: Latrice Smith of Philadelphia as Pisthetaerus; Nicolas Gangone of Howard Beach, New York, as Euelpides; Matt Naranjo of Middlesex, New Jersey, as Trochilus; and Conor Hurley of Woodside, New York, as Bill Clinton, the Hoopoe. The production also features Shaye Santos of Wrightstown, New Jersey; Jessica D’Aquila of Brookfield; Connecticut; Zachary Pavlocak of Middlesex, New Jersey; Lauren Garel of New Fairfeild, Connecticuit; Victoria Kusy of Scranton; and Natalie Gray of Glenside. Local performers and production personnel include Kusy and Ali Basalyga of Scranton

Tickets for “The Birds” are available online at or by phone at 570-941-4318. Tickets may also be purchased at the box office at the McDade Center for the Literary and Performing Arts (across from the Weinberg Memorial Library). General Admission tickets are $10 and $7 for students, children, senior citizens and University of Scranton faculty and staff.

For more information, contact the Players Box Office at 570-941-4318 or, or visit

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