From love triangles to artistic frustration to the feeling that the future is bleak, Stupid F**king Bird aims to capture the comedy and tragedy audiences seek.
The play Stupid F**king Bird is a modern adaptation of the classical play The Seagull by Anton Chekov. Aaron Posner initially wrote Stupid F**king Bird, and Michael Mufson will direct the play. The play opens on Friday, Sept. 29, and continues through Oct. 8.
“It occurred to me that doing contemporary, reinvented versions of classics… would be a great way to playfully do the theme of the department’s season. And give students some exposure to performing techniques in classics,” Mufson said.
Theater students today are in an interesting group, as most of their chances of gaining experience were taken away due to COVID-19. Both high schools and colleges stopped performances during the height of the pandemic, which left many students without a space to learn and perfect their techniques.
Two-year colleges, like Palomar, must ensure they provide their theater students with as much experience as possible. So when Mufson was deciding how to give that experience to students, Stupid F**king Bird came to mind.
“It’s rare for me to actually direct a play that I’ve seen a production of before because I don’t like to be influenced by somebody else’s production of something. But I just knew it would appeal to students,” Mufson said.
The play features an artistic theater family as they question what qualifies as art and how one makes art in a changing world. It also features a love triangle between the lead characters and tackles it in a comedic yet tragic way. And it also has themes that students today can relate to, even though The Seagull was written in 1895.
“You have young characters, young people, who are struggling with the feeling that the older generations have left them a fucked up situation and a fucked up world,” Mufson said.
And while there may be some similarities between Stupid F**king Bird and The Seagull, there are also differences. Mufson discussed some of those changes, which include more modern language and a condensed cast to polish the story for audiences.
Mufson also broke away from Chekov’s aesthetic with the design of the play. The setting is immersive while still being a play on a stage, which will help the audience feel like they’re a part of the story. The cast also breaks the fourth wall throughout the play, allowing the audience to be part of the story.
“I know how important it is, as our culture gets more and more isolated by technology, for these opportunities in theater,” Mufson said. “To have a shared experience that builds a feeling of being part of a community. Even if it’s just a temporary community for the duration of the show.”
For more information about the play and where to buy tickets, visit Palomar’s Performing Arts page.
Stupid F**king Bird flyer. Photo credit: Courtesy of Palomar Performing Arts