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Wednesday, 25 October 2017 12:46

Review of Stupid Fucking Bird

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Meagan Truxal, Josh T. Ryan and Matt DeHaven are featured in LAPC Theatre's 60th Anniversary Season Opening production of the comedy, "Stupid F**king Bird," with runs at LA Pierce College's Dow Arena Theatre through Oct. 27th. Meagan Truxal, Josh T. Ryan and Matt DeHaven are featured in LAPC Theatre's 60th Anniversary Season Opening production of the comedy, "Stupid F**king Bird," with runs at LA Pierce College's Dow Arena Theatre through Oct. 27th. Photo by Lynn Levitt.

Presents “Stupid Fucking Bird” by Aaron Posner, sort of adapted from "The Seagull" by Anton Chekhov.  Running from October 20 - 29.

Let me just say right off the bat that, as the title of the may suggest, you should not go to this play expecting a direct adaptation of The Seagull…oh no. 

The playwright Aaron Posner has taken this classic and of its time, quitea  revolutionary play and turned it on its squawking head.

SFB 2
Josh T. Ryan, Justine Brandy (foreground), Trevor Alkazian and Jon Michael Villagomez (background)

We travel from 19th century Russia to present day, somewhere upstate-like, to a country house on a lake on a day when Con, the sort of hero, is presenting his very first play to an audience of his mother, her lover, his uncle, his friend Dev and the love of Dev’s life Mosh - who is hopelessly in love with Con.  Complex… Con’s girlfriend, ingenue and muse is the sole actor of his poetic and desperate attempt at a “new direction for theatre.”  For Con, all hangs on his hand picked audience's reaction to his tortured piece. It doesn’t go well.

This is a very non-traditional play.  The set is sprawling, sometimes including the entire theatre as well as some seats in the audience.  The characters are very real, but also well aware that they are in a play on a stage with an audience in attendance, which gives the entire performance a surreal and urgent kind of intimacy.

The play opens with all the actors on stage and Con saying “The play will begin when someone says: ‘Start the fucking play’.”  Which someone in the audience, after a moment or two, actually says…and off we go!

This kind of fly by the seat of your pants theatre is, when executed proficiently, a lot of fun. But when a production is as phenomenal as this one, it becomes something quite extraordinary. Excellent directing by Anthony Cantrell.

SFB 6
Josh T. Ryan and Meagan Truxal 

It’s all talk, talk, talk…just like Chekhov of course…and everyone has an opinion about absolutely everything, which I love.  But the play’s brilliance would fall completely flat if not for these really wonderful actors.  Everyone is fantastic and seems to be having a ball on stage, even the thoroughly depressed Mash, who strums her ukulele and sings moodily of her unrequited love and her misery so soppily, beautifully and believable.

There is a lot of swearing, which I also love, probably because I am English. So be warned, and a little nudity, which is very tasteful and gracefully done.

But this is a play abut the value of art, just as its predecessor was.  Con’s mother is an aging actress furiously holding on to her successful and enigmatic writer boyfriend who has an eye for Con’s girlfriend Nina who not so secretly feels the same way.  All this crisscrossing of emotions is fuel to the dramatic and sexual fire, pushing Con’s character to his limits and beyond. But don’t expect the same ending as Chekhov’s. These characters are very self-aware and prone to taking their destiny into their own hands.

Overall I think Chekhov would have rather enjoyed this version. After all, he yearned for drama to be daring and new, and “Stupid Fucking Bird” is certainly that.  It gives all these marvelous characters stellar moments of their own and no one feels like a supporting character, a true ensemble.

It’s intense and funny, powerful and charming, thrilling and soulful…the very best of Chekhov’s work I think.

Bravo to Los Angeles Pierce College for providing us the opportunity to experience this brilliance and with a cast so perfect it would make the seagulls cry…

I highly recommend “Stupid Fucking Bird.”  But it’s only on for a very short time so don’t dawdle. Get your tickets fast. I have a rule to never miss an opportunity for Chekhov. And this particular play a fresh and exciting twist on the classic, is really just as good as the “real” thing…

LAPC Presents “Stupid Fucking Bird” by Aaron Posner, Sort of Adapted from The Seagull by Anton Chekhov. 

Showtimes and tickets

Running from October 20 - 29 Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm

https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3094975

https://www.facebook.com/LAPCTheatre/ 

Directed by Anthony Cantrell

Cast

Con - Jon Michael Villagomez

Dev - Trevor Alkazian

Mash - Monica Vigil

Dr Sorn - Matt DeHaven

Nina - Meagan Truxal

Emma - Justine Brandy

Trigoran - Josh T. Ryan

Production Crew

Nicholas Caisse - Scenic Design

Eileen Gizienski - Costume Design

Michael Gend - Lighting Design

Edward Salas - Sound Design

Danielle Riedinger - Stage Manager

Read 871 times Last modified on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 22:09
Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer, director, filmmaker living in Los Angeles. She co-created the unprecedented project 52 Films/52 Weeks: A Year in Filmmaking, where she and her partners, wrote, directed, produced and edited a film a week for an entire year. She currently has several independent film projects at various stages of development.  

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1 comment

  • Comment Link Tami Wednesday, 01 November 2017 22:49 posted by Tami

    The students were very impressive. The professionals were amazing. Great show, should run much longer though.

    Tami

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