Thrush (a play with slaughter songs)

By Caridad Svich

Salvage Vanguard Theatre, Austin, TX (2006)

“Everything about Caridad Svich’s Thrush (a play with songs) is spot on. …A beautifully written, moving script…At the emotional core of Thrush is the notion that holding on to one’s humanity, as painful and damaging as it may be, is the only way to keep oneself sane. It’s a message that speaks volumes in current times, and one that makes this play with songs all the more meaningful.” The Austinist (October 17, 2006)


Scenes from war and after. Slaughter songs for broken times. A love story and vaudeville of the far and near country. A young woman walks the fields. A young man trails her. The ghost voices of the fallen rise up in ballads, hymns, blues and swing as if torn from roots of mad sorrow. Thrush explores the world of the displaced and their constant push for survival.

Full-length play with songs.
Roles: 2 women (20s), 3 men (20s), chorus (one or two performers either male or female).
Running time: 112 minutes.

Script History:

Salvage Vanguard Theatre, Austin, TX (2006)

This text originally began its life as a song for a cappella voices (words by Caridad Svich, music by O-Lan Jones) entitled “Appalachia Song” written for ASK Theater Projects/ Nautilus Composer-Librettist Studio. The initial song served as catalyst for this full-length play with songs, which was written with support from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Early versions of the text received readings with Arielle Tepper’s Working Sessions music-theatre development program at New Dramatists, at Salvage Vanguard‘s SVT READS, and Savage Tree Arts in Atlanta, GA.

Thrush premiered at Salvage Vanguard Theatre in Austin, Texas (Artistic Director, Jason Neulander) on October 13, 2006 under Jenny Larson’s direction with music by Adam Sultan and sound design by Buzz Moran. Dan Dietz served as dramaturg. A CD of Adam Sultan’s musical settings for this version and updated script are both available from

The play subsequently has received a college production at Northwestern University’s Department of Theatre under the direction of Jaclyn Biskup.


Photos of Salvage Vangard production by Chris O’Shea