Theatre lovers! The universe has conspired to give you a beginning-of-the-summer treat. No, “treat” is too simple, too insignificant. It’s giving you a decadent dessert to be enjoyed and shared with like-minded theatre-loving friends and community. Right here in Los Angeles. Err, Pasadena, to be specific… and that’s a considerable difference to those of us that hate heading northeast, but a sacrifice that you will be most happy to make after all is said and done.
The Theatre @ Boston Court and Circle X are the big dogs behind the West Coast premiere of Stupid F***ing Bird, an adaptation of a little play you may have heard of called The Seagull by a guy that may also ring a bell, Anton Chekhov. If for any reason the mention of the adaptation turns you off (and you call yourself a theatre lover? For shame!) I strike it from the conversation. Nothing I say should dissuade you from seeing this show.
There’s nothing terribly new about the story. I don’t believe it matters whether you are familiar with The Seagull or not. It’s not complicated. Someone is in love with someone who is in love with someone else, who loves someone else, etc. etc. It’s not rocket science, it’s melodrama. And the plot is not really the reason to see the show, even though unrequited love never goes out of style. It’s about theatre. It’s about the form. And if you love theatre, your theatre card will be taken the night this show closes if you have not seen it. Got it?
Aaron Posner has written a gem. A 2 ½-hour gem (which is long these days) but a gem, nonetheless. Michael Michetti has worn his captain (director) hat well. It’s a tight, well-steered situation, and I saw it on a preview night… which means it’s only going to get better.
What should you look forward to?
Brilliant acting. And I never say that. There isn’t a weak link in this cast. And there isn’t an “easy” role in the mix. There are lots of tears, devastation, seduction, angst, desperation… and it’s all done really truthfully and well. Wow. Will Bradley, Amy Pietz, Zarah Mahler, Matthew Floyd Miller, Arye Gross, Adam Silver, Charlotte Gulezian… Bravo. Seriously.
Breaking of theatre convention, and done well. The cast consistently breaks the fourth wall and they really pull it off. It brought me in as an audience member instead of taking me out. Hooray.
Of course there were things that didn’t work out so well. No theatre piece is perfect. The actors actually converse with the audience and wait for a response. The attempt is sometimes successful and sometimes uncomfortable. Not in a good and challenging way, uncomfortable. Just uncomfortable. There are some hop off the stage and talk to audience members in close proximity moments as well. Totally uncomfortable. Aaaaand, there was a ridiculously long nude make out scene. The longest I’ve ever seen. Wildly uncomfortable. Totally took me out of the world of the play. You don’t want to know what thoughts I had in my head, but it wasn’t about the play or the characters. The most gratuitous thing I’ve seen in ages. Not edgy or interesting, just a bad choice.
Why did I end on a bad note?
The theatre space is gorgeous. The costumes (Mallory Kay Nelson) and set (Stephanie Kerley Schwartz) were impeccable, really.
This is a fine, fine piece of theatre, folks. If you love the theatre, buy your tickets now. If you have never quite understood the draw, you may want to leave this one to the geeks. This isn’t a theatre for beginners show. You vets are gonna love it.
The Theatre @ Boston Court
70 N. Mentor Ave
Pasadena, CA 91106
(they have their own parking! How cool is that?)
Thru July 27th.
Wednesday-Saturday 8pm, Sunday 2pm.
Gen admission: $34 (but look for discounts!)