Encore Michigan

‘Stupid Bird’ takes flight at P45 in Traverse City

Review July 27, 2019 Tom Emmott

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.–Bird is a contemporary adaption of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, written by American Playwright Aaron Posner with Music by Ines Thiebault.  And you don’t have to be familiar with Chekhov’s The Seagull to appreciate this rude and crude adaptation. 

And if you do know it…Enjoy.  Be surprised.  Take it all in.  It’s all about the romantic and emotional entanglements of a group of family members and friends who all come together at a large beach house. 

Bird runs the gamut with characters.  Emma is a famous actress.  Con is a hopeful but tortured playwright. Nina an ambitious young actress.  Trigorin a famous writer.  Eugen is a doctor.  Mash and Dev are Con’s friends. 

In Stupid F**king Bird, Posner runs Chekhov’s Seagull through a shredder. And if love makes the world go round, then these characters are in outer space on an orbit with the moon. Their emotional distress takes us back to what we all want, have ever wanted, and still want in the real word. And that is love. And this is where the fun begins. Along with the angst, the tortured souls, egos, dreams, failures, unresolved issues, romance, confrontations…every subject is touched on replete with modern day references…you will hear and see it all.  And the song, “I Just Want To Be Loved” sets the stage. 

Director Matthew Gutschick takes these talented actors through Posner’s shredder and pastes them together in a fluid but rapid pace that is full of energy, emotion and spirit. There are so many standout scenes that come from these talented actors and every actor get’s their turn in the spotlight and they’re all perfectly cast–Joshua Isaiah Foster, Daniel Lendzian, Aguel Lual, Katharine Mangold, David Montee, Serenity S’rae Saffold-Rice, Mikhail Yarovoy. 

The tale is told through absurdity, comedy, hilarity, and silliness and it is so engrossing. The characters may be self absorbed but never boring. And when Con asks the question of Nina, “What don’t you like about me?,” it brings us to wonder if we’ve ever asked those questions of ourselves?  Con also talks about the “bullshit of theatre,” and “the egos. The parade of egos,”  shows that Posner even takes aim at his own craft. And the doctor asks,”Do you all feel all of the things you say you feel?” Or Nina, “You do not shoot the things you love.”

Much credit goes to the scenic design of Christopher Dills. His set is simple, yet very functional and utilizes the space efficiently and productively. And Brian Elton’s lighting design is superb. The Music and Sound Design by Ines Thiebaut is remarkable.

Bird spins a satirical romp while maintaining the essence of the original intent of Chekhov. And as an audience member…don’t be afraid to participate

Bird is 2 hours and 15 minutes with 1 intermission. It is for ages 13+ and includes mature language, recorded sounds of gunfire, and realistic depiction of a gun onstage. For ticket information visit Parallel 45.ORG or call 800-836-0717.