Paul has made it all the way to the top with his band! In the old days, they used to play mouldy little clubs, but today they fill the world’s great stadiums. And Paul is their megastar, worshipped for his songs. As a man, however, he is monstrous. His demands are excessive, his judgements ruthless, his behaviour towards others reckless. He revolves around his own person at such a relentlessly rapid speed that he is finally thrown from his own orbit: When Marnie commits suicide because of him, Paul’s glittering fairy-tale rock ’n’ roll life becomes a bottomless descent into hell.
With echoes of Bertolt Brecht’s “Baal”, Simons Stephens’ “Birdland” is a modern tale of the rapid rise of an artist, the psychological profile of a cynic who watches the world from his elevated roost and has lost all connection with real life – if he ever had it, that is. No trace of morals or ethos – just like the title that Bertolt Brecht had originally meant for his play: “Baal gorges! Baal dances! Baal glorifies himself!”