Aaron Posner's "sort of" adaptation of The Seagull updates the language for a society currently self-obsessed with their social media reflections.
“Like a play, but not so stupid.” That’s how Stupid Fucking Bird‘s protagonist (and bird killer) Conrad (Daniel Maslany) describes his play within a play, a play in which the characters routinely break the show’s fourth wall (though not character), ask questions of the audience, and comment out loud on their own and each other’s failings. (Maslany in particular, who, like his Orphan Black starring sister, has a background in improv, excels in these brief interactive interludes.)
Staged in the now vacated Golf Town retail space sandwiched between Mirvish’s theatres and offices on King Street West, this collectively presented Canadian premiere of Aaron Posner’s “sort of” adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull is a clever and mobile experience (you’ll wheel office chairs around between acts). It’s an experience that’s finding appeal, as the show’s just extended their run by a week.
“Nobody’s pretending to be someone else,” claims Conrad. But, of course, there are actors playing these confused and (mostly) heartsick people, and it’s a fine cast—nearly as fine as those in recent and more traditional productions. Richard Greenblatt’s uncle Sorn is bemused and sympathetic to the younger characters’ heartbreak: Brendan Hobin’s Dev pines for Rachel Cairns’s Mash, who loves Conrad, who’s obsessed with Karen Knox’s Nina, and so on. But it’s Knox and Craig Lauzon’s Doyle who strike the most sparks (and are, curiously, the characters who break the fourth wall least) as two people utterly wrong for each other, who wreck lives with their mutual attraction. Towards the evening’s end, Conrad snarks, “another play, over and done, and not much has changed.” But for anyone who read or saw The Seagull when they were younger, there may be a deeper understanding of the universality of narcissistic infatuation, and an example or two of how pulling one’s nose out of your navel (or screen), while easier said then done, can improve your lot in life and love.
To March 26, 270 King Street West, Wednesday–Saturday, 8 p.m., Sunday, 2 p.m., $25–$40.
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