Stupid F***ing Bird Review - So Nice, They Did It Twice

 

Matt Fletcher as “Dev”, Katy Carolina Collins as “Mash”, Nina O'Keefe as “Nina”, Nate Whelden as “Con”, Cody Proctor as “Trig”, Stacy Stoltz as “Emma” and Norm Woodel as “Sorn” star in Sideshow Theatre’s Stupid F##king Bird, opening Saturday, July 25 at 7:30 pm and running through August 30 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. For additional information or tickets, visit sideshowtheatre.org or call (773) 809-4782. Photo courtesy of DEF

 

Unlike at Thanksgiving dinner, in theatre it is rare to have an opportunity to go back for seconds; once a production closes, it goes the way of Ibsen’s infamous slammed door and stays closed forever. But with its remounting of last summer’s wildly successful production of Stupid F***ing Bird, the Sideshow Theatre Company offers audiences a second chance to engage with this smart, funny, gut-wrenching piece of meta-theatrical brilliance, and it is absolutely a chance worth taking.

 

Cody Proctor as “Trig” and Nina O'Keefe as “Nina” star in Sideshow Theatre’s Stupid F##king Bird, opening Saturday, July 25 at 7:30 pm and running through August 30 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. For additional information or tickets, visit sideshowtheatre.org or call (773) 809-4782. Photo courtesy of DEF

 

Billing itself as “sort of adapted from Chekov’s The Seagull,” Aaron Posner’s witty, compact deconstruction of a classic piece of theatre epitomizes Sideshow’s mission of reimagining familiar stories in new ways. Transplanted into contemporary times, Chekov’s story retains its essential characters and elements while also forming a framework for a larger discussion about the nature of theatre itself. Unrequited love abounds; Dev pines for Mash while she pines for Con; Con has eyes only for Nina, while Trig and Nina’s making eyes at each other drives Emma up the wall. Meanwhile, the aging Sorn stands at the outskirts, all smiles on the outside but with a heart full of uncertainties. Mixing the cerebral with the visceral, this witty, insightful, and deeply human production remains just as stunning as it was a year ago.

 

Nina O'Keefe as “Nina” and Nate Whelden as “Con” star in Sideshow Theatre’s Stupid F##king Bird, opening Saturday, July 25 at 7:30 pm and running through August 30 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. For additional information or tickets, visit sideshowtheatre.org or call (773) 809-4782

 

The remounted production has been moved from Victory Gardens’ smaller Richard Christianson Theatre to its larger proscenium space, the Začek McVay Theatre. Although the cleverly constructed, multi-function set (designed by Joe Schermoly) remains as effective as ever, the story seems to lose some of its immediacy in the less intimate space, a loss partially compensated for by director Jonathan L. Green’s choice to bring the actors into the aisles for entrances and exits. Original music written by James Sugg and performed with ukulele and vocals by Katy Carolina Collins brings a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun to the production, and indeed, with highly choreographed group scenes featuring characters singing or speaking simultaneously, the show does take on elements of a musical at times.

 

Katy Carolina Collins as “Mash” stars in Sideshow Theatre’s Stupid F##king Bird, opening Saturday, July 25 at 7:30 pm and running through August 30 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. For additional information or tickets, visit sideshowtheatre.org or call (773) 809-4782. Photo courtesy of DEF

 

The acting in this production remains rock solid. Stacy Stoltz shines as the unapologetic and indomitable Emma, and Nina O’Keefe’s performance in her final scene as her namesake character once again floored me with its rawness and intense emotional honesty. Indeed, it was delightful to see these talented actors reunited once again; all seven of them returned for this second staging and all seven of them brought their A-game. The synergetic ensemble once again brings vivid life to these fresh takes on classic characters, and it was as much a delight to watch them work a second time as it was the first.

 

Nate Whelden as “Con” and Stacy Stoltz as “Emma” star in Sideshow Theatre’s Stupid F##king Bird, opening Saturday, July 25 at 7:30 pm and running through August 30 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. For additional information or tickets, visit sideshowtheatre.org or call (773) 809-4782

 

Stupid F***ing Bird is a play with teeth; it sinks itself into your very being and refuses to let go. If you have seen the show already, see it again; if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you do so. Sideshow chose wisely in remounting this remarkable production, and attending it is an opportunity not to be missed.

 

Nate Whelden as “Con” stars in Sideshow Theatre’s Stupid F##king Bird, opening Saturday, July 25 at 7:30 pm and running through August 30 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. For additional information or tickets, visit sideshowtheatre.org or call (773) 809-4782

 

STUPID F***ING BIRD runs from Thursday, July 23 through Sunday, August 30, 2015. The regular schedule is Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm and Sundays at 3 pm. Regularly priced tickets range from $15-$49. Tickets are available at the Victory Gardens website

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