The College at Brockport Department of Theatre and Music Studies will present “Stupid F***ing Bird,” Aaron Posner’s modernist version of “The Seagull” by Anton Chekhov, on Oct. 4-19 in the Tower Fine Arts Center, 180 Holley St., Brockport.
Posner’s self-deprecation, humor, reflection and anachronisms run through his life and works. When he started to write about his own life, he turned to Chekhov.
“He’s never been my favorite playwright, but he gave me the structure — and the permission, maybe? — to write about things that were deeply personal to me,” Posner said.
Frank Kuhn, professor of theater, directs the Brockport production.
“[I was] intrigued by the way Posner attributed his new work: ‘sort of adapted from “The Seagull” by Anton Chekhov,’” he said. “What does that mean, ‘sort of adapted’? The shocking irreverence of the title led me to think it must be a comic parody of Chekhov’s 1896 masterpiece, but on reading it I realized that ‘Stupid F***ing Bird’ doesn’t depend on the audience knowing its source play anymore than ‘Rent’ depends on familiarity with its source, the opera ‘La Boheme.’
“As for the ‘sort of adapted,’ I was amazed at how the script manages to be irreverent toward this hallowed piece of dramatic literature while at the same time genuinely exploring, in a contemporary way, the characters, relationships and themes found there. In that respect, I look at it as a ‘translation’ into our cultural idiom. As in Chekhov, we share the characters’ passions and frustrations while laughing at their comic fumblings and foibles, all very 21st century, and presented in a surprisingly contemporary theatrical style. Our cast is finding humor and truths that speak to them. This is not your great-great-grandparents’ ‘Seagull.’”
Presiding over the proceedings as Emma, the matriarch of the family that gathers at a weekend estate, is Davida Bloom, an associate professor in the department.
“What a great pleasure to work with Davida,” Kuhn said. “I’ve known from watching her work she is an extraordinary actor, but it’s a privilege and a revelation to collaborate with her on this project. We’re having a great time working together.”
Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 4-5 and 17-19, and 2 p.m. on Oct. 6. The matinee will be ASL-interpreted. Tickets cost $17 general; $12 for seniors, alumni, faculty and staff; and $9 for students. Call (585) 395-2787 or visit fineartstix.brockport.edu for information.