Anton Chekhov’s classic play “The Seagull,” which explores the timeless themes of misplaced love and self-evaluation, will be brought to modern audiences with the Ohio State Department of Theatre’s upcoming production of “Stupid F—ing Bird,” a “sort of” adaptation by Aaron Posner.
The play is set on the estate of a wealthy actress named Emma and is a meta-theatrical piece about her son, Con, writing a play titled “Stupid F—ing Bird.” Con is played by Joseph Kopyt, an OSU graduate student studying theater.
“This play really appeals to the demographic of Ohio State students,” Kopyt said. “It speaks to the problems and desires and angst of young adults. It’s very relatable. It’s a very vibrant show.”
The show is directed by Maureen Ryan, who is an associate professor in the Department of Theatre. Ryan works with a cohort of master of fine arts students throughout the entirety of their three years in the program.
The majority of the 10-member cast consists of first-year graduate students studying acting, along with a small number of undergraduate students. There is a two-person band that includes a trumpet and a harmonica player, which will play music throughout the show. The existing camaraderie and intimacy of the scene work create dynamic acting that students will connect with, Ryan said.
“The play is made up primarily of two-person scenes,” Ryan said. “It does give you the opportunity to really dig into the action of the scene and find its deepest level of meaning. They’re just really working together very well, but it demands the actors to commit in a very honest and emotional way.”
The performance space is surrounded by seating on three sides of the stage, allowing the audience to have a more interactive experience with the acting while facing each other as well.
“This is our first time performing in the Bowen,” said Blake Edwards, a first-year graduate student studying acting. “It does pose challenges; the performers have to be conscious of not giving the audience their backs. The space lends itself well to motion and never getting comfortable in one spot.”
Edwards plays the role of Trigorin, a middle-aged novelist who is dating Con’s mother while he is enamored of Con’s girlfriend, Nina. Edwards said this modern adaptation will connect to modern-day audiences in ways that “The Seagull” might not.
“I think we are able to laugh at their pain as well as hear the truth about our world today,” Ryan said. “It’s a play where everyone is in love with the wrong person, and there’s nothing funnier than unhappiness.”
“Stupid F—ing Bird” is set to be performed in the Roy Bowen Theater in the Drake Performance and Event Center at 1849 Cannon Drive. Tickets are $15 for students and $20 for the general public. Showtimes are Wednesday to March 10 at 7:30 p.m. with additional 3 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday.