Tony Pasqualini

Birdbrain received a workshop production at The Pacific Resident Theatre, March 3rd thru March 20th, 2011.

It is currently optioned by the Rogue Machine Theatre in Los Angeles -- to be produced in their 2014 season.

About Birdbrain

    Thomas Jarkowski, a thirty-eight year old high school history teacher, is in a struggle for his life. His four-year-old son died tragically eight years ago, he is divorced, living in a tenement, and indifferent to his work. On a hike one day, Tom comes upon an injured bird.

He’s intrigued by the animal and decides to bring it home

to nurse back to health. A closer examination, however,

reveals that the injured bird might actually be a Passenger Pigeon,

an animal long thought to be extinct. Tom becomes convinced

the bird has been brought to him for some unknown but vital

reason.  Feeling a renewed sense of purpose, he decides to

keep the Passenger Pigeon and sets out to prove the truth of its origin. To accomplish this, however, Tom must deal with Miss Wellershaus, a demanding and stubborn ornithologist; his best friend, Alex, whose clumsy enthusiasm threatens to derail his plans; his girlfriend, Sally, who wants the bird turned over to the Fish and Wildlife Service; and, most intriguing, a series of hallucinations featuring John James Audubon, famed naturalist and painter; all of which force him to question his own motives and, eventually, his sanity.

Birdbrain is the story of a man who discovers a

bit of magic in the world and, along with it, his will to live.


(Miss Wellerhaus, Sally and Tom)

MISS W: (Turning on him) What you have in that cage is an exact replica in every physical feature and trait of Ectopistes Migratoria. Wandering wanderer.

SALLY: Passenger Pigeon.

MISS W: Yes. And that we know is not possible. What other explanation might we have, then? Fraud! Pure and simple. (Heads for the door)

TOM: Miss Wellershaus—

MISS W: I will not be made a fool of Mr. Jarkowski.

TOM: Wait! Should I call the…Fish and Wildlife--?

MISS W: (Turning on him with a fury) No! Under no circumstances are you to contact anyone concerning this creature!

TOM: But you said it was illegal…the protection act…

MISS W: If it turns out you are not the fraud I believe you to be, you will have stumbled upon the greatest ornithological discovery of our lifetime. The last thing we need in such a case is government interference.

TOM: So you actually do believe that—

MISS W: Lazarus Taxon!

TOM: What’s that? Lazarus...?

MISS W: An extraordinarily rare phenomena whereby an extinct species reappears after a multi-generational absence. Lazarus Taxon. The raising of the dead.

TOM: So this Lazarus...whatever it think that--

MISS W: What I think at this moment is irrelevant. (Calming a bit) I will advise you, however, that if you are telling the truth your life will be irrevocably changed -- for the good, from the looks of it – and you‘d do best to prepare yourself. In the meantime, I will send you detailed instructions for the care and feeding of your charge. I expect every instruction to be followed meticulously. Good afternoon!

(She leaves, slamming the door behind her. Tom looks to Sally, who really is having trouble catching her breath.)

TOM: Holy shit.

SALLY: I‘m going to the bedroom.

TOM: That‘s incredible news, though, don‘t you think? I mean the woman is stark raving mad, but…

SALLY: I need to go, sorry.

(Sally goes off to the bedroom)

TOM: What a thing, huh? I mean I’m no ornithologist...obviously, but a dead species...extinct for a hundred fucking years, killed off by mankind? And one of these little fellas just happens to be sitting in out apartment eating a slice of apple. Crazy, right? Miraculous.

SALLY: Tom, this window’s stuck!

TOM: Coming. (A beat; he stares at the cage.) Raising of the dead. Wow.

A Taste of “Birdbrain”