Birdie and Cait and the Book of Life

“On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed.” When Birdie’s mother dies and her older sister Annika relocates her from New York to London, the sacred Jewish words she’s heard year after year during the High Holidays start to ring truer than ever before. She enlists her new friend Caitriona to help her on a quest to find the Book of Life, as Annika and Cait’s sister Siobhan struggle to...
“On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed.” When Birdie’s mother dies and her older sister Annika relocates her from New York to London, the sacred Jewish words she’s heard year after year during the High Holidays start to ring truer than ever before. She enlists her new friend Caitriona to help her on a quest to find the Book of Life, as Annika and Cait’s sister Siobhan struggle to parent their teenage siblings. But can Birdie really pull off the miracle she’s hoping for before the gates close on Yom Kippur?

New draft as of 06.01.2021
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Birdie and Cait and the Book of Life

Recommended by

  • Deborah Yarchun:
    26 Jun. 2021
    This is such a beautiful, life-affirming play that dives into Judaism in a way I deeply relate to. It explores grief, healing, and finding new relationships in the face of tremendous loss. In its specificity it’s totally universal and relevant to all and it’s theatrical in a pure way- where its theatricality ties to the ideas at its core. I highly recommend this play if you’re looking for an uplifting read and a powerful new voice. I hope to see it produced.
  • Emma Goldman-Sherman:
    6 Jun. 2021
    The idea of the Book of Life has always been awe-inspiring to me. Lang invents a beautiful and moving story that seems to me to be less about queerness and more about any identify and how we can become ourselves in the absence of our parents. Grief can't even begin until we can accept the finality of death. Birdie's search and what she finds are important for all of us, and I hope the play will get produced often and for many.
  • Robin Goldberg:
    19 Apr. 2021
    I was so glad to read "Birdie and Cait and the Book of Life" for Playwrights Foundation's #BAPF2021. This is a sweet, heart-filling coming-of-age play about the very best of sisterhood, female friendship, and creating space for young, queer women to thrive. I loved getting to see these major relationships blossom, and visiting London through these characters' eyes. I really hope to see this play onstage in the near future.

Character Information

  • Birdie Shapiro
    17,
    Any, Jewish
    ,
    Female-identifying
    17, she/her/hers, any race, Jewish. Born in London and raised primarily in New York City. Trying to find her way after her mother's death. Extremely logically-minded, but with a willingness to believe in miracles.

    The same actor also plays: AISLINN -- 17, she/her/hers, Irish. Caitriona's ex-girlfriend, pretty much out and proud and wishes Cait were too, fun until she isn't; and HERSELF AT AGE 9 -- desperate for her big sister's affection.
  • Annika Shapiro
    32,
    Any, Jewish
    ,
    Female-identifying
    32, she/her/hers, any race, Jewish. Born and raised primarily in London. A teacher. Birdie's sister and now guardian, trying to figure out how to cope with a teenager she really doesn't know very well. Not very good at talking about her feelings.

    The same actor also plays: RABBI -- any age, any gender, the rabbi in the video of Birdie's High Holidays services; SCHOOL LIBRARIAN -- any age, she/her/hers, the librarian at Birdie and Caitriona's school; LIBRARIAN OF THE JEWISH SOUL -- ageless, she/her/hers, a confusing and slightly magical librarian Birdie meets on her journey; and HERSELF AT AGE 24 -- a graduate student about to become a teacher, trying very hard to be an adult.
  • Caitriona Sullivan
    17,
    Any
    ,
    Female-identifying
    17, she/her/hers, any race, Irish. Her parents kicked her out when they caught her kissing Aislinn. She's trying to believe in some sort of fate and destiny, but the world makes that difficult. Becomes Birdie's best friend.

    The same actor also plays: CANTOR -- any age, any gender, the cantor in the video of Birdie's High Holidays services; and AMY LEVY -- probably late 20s, she/her/hers, a British Jewish poet, most likely a lesbian.
  • Siobhan Sullivan
    25,
    Any
    ,
    Female-identifying
    25, she/her/hers, any race, Irish. A teacher alongside Annika. Caitriona's sister. She was just learning how to take care of herself when Cait showed up on her doorstep. Desperately wants a friend.

    The same actor also plays: PENNY -- 50s, she/her/hers, Annika and Birdie's mother; and MOIRA -- 50s, she/her/hers, her own (and Caitriona's) mother.

Development History

Awards

Semi-Finalist
,
21st Century Voices New Play Festival
,
American Stage
,
2021