This weekend, Award-winning Aaron Posner’s play, "Stupid F***ing Bird premiered at the Monongalia Arts Center’s Tanner Theatre.
"Stupid F***ing Bird," is a comedic take on Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov’s "The Seagull," a play performed in the late 1800’s.
The 19th century production was somewhat challenging to interpret; the characters often speaking in cryptic riddles throughout the emotional dialogue. "Stupid F***ing Bird" lays all emotions on the table, bringing the original character’s subtextual inner thoughts explicitly to the surface. Unlike the first performances of "The Seagull," the modernized version is blunt in nature.
The play was directed by West Virginia University English professor, David Beach.
Tables and chairs surrounded the stage, the lights dimming as the performance began. Protagonist Dev was the first to appear, urging audience members to chime in and shout "start the f***ing" play."
Gradually, characters Emma, Nina, Sorn, Dev, Mash and Trigorin were introduced, providing a complicated, rich plotline of intertwining relationships.
Agonizing about the state of contemporary theater, Con sets the evening in motion by complaining about plays that don’t reveal anything new or in any way change the real world.
The discontent playwright finds himself head-over-heels for young actress Nina. Unfortunately for Con, Nina becomes infatuated with his mother Emma’s lover, a successful writer.
Unlike most plays, the storyline heavily interacts with audience members. Characters pour their hearts out to individual members of the crowd, occasionally talking with them and asking them questions.
Actress Seret Teresa Cole plays the role of Nina, and believes the production’s significance stems from audience interactions.
"The play is different, and we broke that fourth wall a lot," Cole said. "We get to pull in the audience, and a lot of plays don’t do that like this play does. So that’s a fun drawing
Cole’s heartbreaker character, Nina, was not easy to portray.
"She’s exhausting," Cole said. "I love her. She’s an emotional roller coaster and wreck. She starts off happy and ends up crazy. It was a challenge, but I liked playing her."
Westword described the storyline: "The plot hews closely to the plot of ‘The Seagull.’ Like Konstantin, Con is an experimental writer who loathes Trig’s conventional success, but this F***ing Bird is swift and funny, and also self-referential. In an M.C. Escher-ish way, the play itself is Con’s creation; he creates it as it unfolds. It subverts Chekhov, a sketch of whom adorns the set, and author Posner has sneaky fun with Chekhov’s famous axiom that if a gun appears in act one, it must go off before act three. The actors address the audience directly. Con even asks for advice on how to win Nina."
"Stupid F***ing Bird" will show two more performances at 8 p.m. on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21.
West Virginia University students and the surrounding community are encouraged to visit the Monongalia Arts Center to see the
Admission to the show is $10, and tickets are available at (304) 292-3325, the MAC Lobby Desk, and www.monartscenter.com/shop.