Urbana’s Celebration Company at Station Theatre is preparing to present ” “Stupid F- Bird,” a loose adaptation of Anton Chekov’s late 19th-century play, “The Seagull.”
Written by Aaron Posner in 2013, “Stupid F- Bird,” follows a unique cast of seven characters on a humorous journey as they deal with their personal relationships and struggle to create art that is meaningful to them. The play is a satire, but it still holds an important message about love, the pain of creating art, and the struggle between values of the past and present which are themes that Chekov intended in his original work.
As suggested by the title, the play contains some adult language and content.
“Stupid F-Bird” was performed first by the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington D.C. in 2014. Critics in the area loved the modern take on the classic play and appreciated the way it held true to the thought-provoking content in the “Seagull.” Since then, it has been performed multiple times across the United States, and the playwright has recently made the play available for anyone to perform.
Kay Holley, the Director of Station Theatre’s performance of “Stupid F – Bird,” said the play was first brought to her attention by her husband, an employee at the Music and Performing Arts Library at the University of Illinois, who came across a copy of it at work. He thought it might be something of interest to her, so he brought it home for her to read.
“As soon as I read it, I knew I would like to direct it,” she said.
From there, the Celebration Company at the Station Theatre applied for and received the rights to perform the play from the Dramatist Play Network.
The “Seagull” is in the public domain as it was first written in 1895. But as a modern show, Stupid F-ing bird is subject to copyright laws despite being an adaptation. After completing this step and securing access to the material, the company began the process of producing the show.
Holley said that the play is the second adaptation the Celebration Company has put on at the Station Theatre this season. Last year, the company performed Lucas Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Part Two.” That show is a sequel to another 19th-century play, “A Doll’s House”, written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879. The production was directed by The Celebration Company’s founder and artistic director, Rick Orr.
Although both shows are based on classic works, Holley said there are aspects of “Stupid F —– Bird” that make it stand out from the Celebration Company’s previous work.
“It’s even more irreverent and funny and it is kind of a romp, full of feeling and full of love,” she said. “It’s very exciting.”
The show opens on Thursday, April 18th and will run through Saturday, May 4. Performances will take place from Wednesday-Sunday during the run.