Enchanting original fairy tale ‘All the Birds of the World’ takes flight in Williamsburg

All the Birds
Writer and performer Melody Bates.

Writer and performer Melody Bates has loved fairy tales ever since she was a little girl. 

“They help us understand the world and how our choices can help not only us have good lives, but can also help us contribute to the best possible future for our community,” she said.

Bates’s love of fairy tales is on full display in “All the Birds of the World,” her completely original fairy tale being presented at Brooklyn’s 5th Wall Studio next weekend. Featuring a mythology created by Bates herself, “All the Birds of the World” delivers an experience similar to a Faerie Queen Story Hour. 

Every thousand years, all the great birds of the world get together to perform a ritual that renews the music of the spheres and sets the beat of the universe for the next thousand years. But this year, something goes wrong, and a little mortal mockingbird is the only one who can set things right. 

Bates was inspired by fairy tales from her own childhood and the heroes and heroines within them, through whom she was able to envision herself.

“As a little girl reading fairy tales, I just was able to effortlessly imagine myself in these roles of these characters who were vanquishing evil wizards and saving their community and going on adventures and overcoming adversity,” she said. 

Bates hopes her storytelling inspires audience members in a similar way. 

“I’m so inspired by the opportunity to make stories that can offer some kind of inspiration and joy and also useful information about how to move through the world,” Bates said. “Including how to be hopeful, even when things are not what we want them to be.”

In this story, audience members will meet birds from different sects of global mythology, like the Phoenix, the Roc and more. You’ll also be treated to spectacular costuming, created by Jennifer Paar, and even aerial choreography, designed by 5th Wall Studio. 

These elements and more combine for a truly unique storytelling experience.

“We’re combining visual, aural, and embodied storytelling to create something beautiful, joyful, and unique that I can’t wait to share with an audience,” Bates said in a press release. “I think we’re making something folks have never experienced before.” 

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“All the Birds of the World” is part of Bates’s “Enchanted Islands” project, a living art story project featuring three original tales focusing on heroines, magic, self-discovery and, of course, birds. 

“Enchanted Islands” was presented as a residency in Maine in collaboration with Nervous Nellie’s Jams and Jellies. Bates said the experience and response from audiences was inspiring. 

“It was just very moving to share these stories that I love and that I wrote from a place of love and joyfulness,” Bates said. 

When audiences experience one of Bates’s stories, she hopes they find themselves transported. 

Being transported by a story “helps us process how we feel about things, it helps us learn how to take care of ourselves,” Bates said. “And it’s also the experience of joy, of delight, of curiosity, of wanting to know what happens next and then the satisfaction that comes when you get to the end of the story.” 

Bates said what stories give us are critical to how we live our lives. 

“They’re not, like, extra in our experience as human beings,” she said. “They’re essential.”

When audiences leave “All the Birds of the World,” Bates hopes they take the experience with them. 

“I hope they leave feeling joyful and having had a wonderful time,” Bates says. “But then, with images in their head that keep lighting up for days and weeks to come with ideas in their heart that continue to ring and resonate.”

See “All the Birds of the World” April 4-6 at 5th Wall Studio, 156 North Fourth St., in Williamsburg.

A version of this story first appeared on Brooklyn Paper’s sister site New York Family