Anton Chekhov's take on life, love and artistic integrity, The Seagull, has been a masterpiece for generations. Meet Aaron Posner--the cheeky playwright who has sort-of adapted the show for modern audiences--and named it, Stupid F##king Bird.
Directed at Stages Repertory Theatre by Kenn McLaughlin, "Bird" follows the story of an aspiring playwright, Con, who is based on The Seagull's Konstantin Treplev, and who is in love with his play's leading lady.
His mother is an aging actress, and his mother's lover is a famous writer. No one is content, however, and this unfulfilled artistic ennui lends itself to some great speeches about art.
"[Con] struggles with how to produce theater that speaks deeply to an audience," says McLaughlin. "He's the idealist who has his one big dream shattered by the end of the play and his journey is heart-breaking."
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In the midst of the irreverent dialogue, Posner criticizes himself as a director of Shakespeare, as one of the characters monologues about how directors stretch to make Shakespeare accessible nowadays. Indeed, Bird is almost more Shakespearian than Chekhovian.
"I trust and ask more from our audience," says Posner of writing "Bird." The audience, in fact, starts off the play with one of the characters demanding, "The play will begin when you say, 'Start the f##king play!" So the audience dutifully and in chorus resounds, "Start the f##king play!"
"The play is not a parody of the original, The Seagull, yet it asks the same questions the original play asked in our modern idiom," explains McLaughlin. "What does the theater need to do to remain relevant and powerful in a modern age? Can a society maintain a class structure that is clearly unbalanced? And of course, what do you do when the love you seek is not within your reach?"
Stages Repertory Theatre presents Stupid F##king Bird complete with brief nudity, copious swearing and audience participation from March 18- April 12 at Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway. For more information call 713-527-0123 or visit stagestheatre.com. $19-65.