University of Wisconsin’s University Theater’s fall production of “Stupid Fucking Bird” is a light-hearted take on Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull” and offers a modern twist on a timeless classic.
Written by Aaron Posner, “Stupid Fucking Bird” tells the story of a young man’s quest to win the heart of his muse and childhood friend. Along the way, hearts are broken, songs are sung and the ensemble is meant to shine as a collective unit.
Though the show is based off of “The Seagull,” the differences between the two are what will make “Stupid Fucking Bird” such a treat, according to its actors. UW junior Jamie Herb, who plays the part of Nina, feels Posner’s comedically edgy spin makes the show more accessible to audiences.
“Aaron Posner wrote SFB in modern, colloquial speech, which I think makes the characters easier to digest and relate to for modern audiences than ‘The Seagull’,” Herb said. “There are fewer characters in this play than Chekhov’s, which streamlines the plot and allows for some sort of simplicity among the chaos of the play.”
The play itself may be chaotic, but the rehearsal process has been anything but. UW junior Maddie Wilinski, who plays the part of Emma, said the cast has worked well together. Even after a recent change in the casting of Con, the character pining after Nina’s heart, the performers were able to embrace the change smoothly and grow as actors in the process.
For Wilinski and Herb, understanding their characters was a difficult yet rewarding process. Starting with the first read through of the script followed by constant text work, the characters came to life in an impeccably authentic way, Herb said.
“You can’t judge your character, so I had to learn to justify every choice Nina made even if I didn’t necessarily agree with it,” Herb said. “She knows what she wants even if it’s not the most practical thing, and she definitely follows her heart and emotions more than anything.”
Beyond the musical and comedic aspects of the play, “Stupid Fucking Bird” showcases myriad impactful lessons that audiences of all ages will connect with. While Herb has been humbled by how the show examines theater as a tool for social change, Wilinski said the production will strike a chord with college students.
“’Stupid Fucking Bird’ has a refreshing take on the classic confusion and horrid unfairness of love and what it means to be oneself,” Wilinski said. “These are pretty quintessential of college and meaningful to any age.”
It is clear this cast is incredibly passionate about the show they have created together. Aimed to be a kaleidoscope of laughter, music and raw emotion, Wilinski and Herb are confident “Stupid Fucking Bird” is a night of theater to remember.
“Stupid Fucking Bird” will be performed at the Gilbert V. Hemsley Jr. Theater from Oct. 20 to Nov. 6. Performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday performances at 2 p.m.