We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

The Bard of Avon’s plays just weren’t old enough to get serious consideration this fall at Folger. Instead of 17th century fare, the classically focused theater is putting on a 1,000-year-old show: Jean-Claude Carrière and Peter Brook’s adaptation of the Persian fable The Conference of the Birds. Any production of Birds would be a novelty in its own right, but the theater’s artistic team wisely realized that to stage a show that ventures into unfamiliar territory, they should find new talent, and they didn’t need to travel the Silk Road to find it. Aaron Posner, the D.C.-based director, established himself as the go-to guy whenever myth and magic is involved with his riveting 2008 Macbeth, also at the Folger. In director’s notes, he describes Birds as “equal parts hero’s quest, moral fable, tall tale, adventure story, religious parable, buddy movie, and poetic flight of fancy.” Posner enlisted local musician and composer Tom Teasley, who won a Helen Hayes Award (and many fans) for his work on Constellation Theatre’s 2010 production of the Indian epic The Ramayana. To find actors game to portray feathered creatures like hoopoes, peacocks, and parrots, Posner recruited heavily from Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Jessica Frances Dukes is among the local actors making her Folger debut.