Max Berry, Contributing Critic - New York City
Art of Warr Productions takes on Aaron Posner’s powerful “sort of” adaptation of Chekhov’s “The Seagull”, “Stupid F*cking Bird and delivers an exhilarating and provocative performance from start to finish. Touching on ideas of art, love, and life itself, this production does a great job of handling each complicated idea and tension-filled moment.
The performances were across the board fantastic. With a play containing seven characters, it would be all too easy for one or two actors to fall through the cracks, overshadowed by one or two stand-outs. However, each of the performances stood out in their own spectacular ways, ensuring that there was never a dull moment on stage. Moments like Dr. Eugene Sorn’s (Kevin Gilmartin) monologue in the kitchen and, of course, Conrad’s (Blake Merriman) final monologue packed emotional punches that kept the audience held in a buzzing silence. Brendan Ellis as Dev also delivered a charming performance full of humor and heart.
The small and intimate basement theater space of the 13th street theater is a perfect place for a show that talks so much of new and innovative theatre and how we find and create it. Ditching trash and flash of a larger space, it feels like a place of newness and independent art.
The ideas in “Stupid F*cking Bird” continue to be relevant in the world of theater that we are currently living in. Ideas of change and innovation and not settling for the same kind of show. As the world around us continues to grow more and more frightening, this play calls on the artists to do something about it. It expresses the longing for change in how we tell stories, a change that is already being felt by many, as new and creative forms of theater are emerging every day.
In addition, the plays contrasting portrayals of masking too much emotion and releasing too much, are shown with great skill by Gilmartin and Merriman, as well as the whole cast.
Art of Warr’s production of this powerful play adapted from a classic was engaging, frightening, and strikingly relevant. A very well done production that I would highly recommend checking out.
“Stupid F*cking Bird” was written by Aaron Posner with original music by James Sugg.
It was directed by Joshua Warr.
It features Mia Guest, Kevin Gilmartin, Blake Merriman, Brendan Ellis, Alexandra Riley Morton, Julia Blanchard, and John Calvin Kelly.
Set and sound design by Joshua Warr
Costume design by Todd Trosclair
Lighting Design by Riley Cavanauugh
It is performed at 13th Street Repertory Theater (50 W. 13th Street, New York NY 10011) October 3-27th