Dramatic Arts mainstage production puts modern spin on classic play

Pictured above: Third-year Dramatic Arts student Lucas Charters (left) and second-year student Victoria Marshall rehearse on the set of the upcoming Dramatic Arts mainstage production at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, opening Friday, Oct. 27.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2023 | by

More than a hundred years after it was written, a celebrated play by famed playwright Anton Chekhov is getting a contemporary reboot that invites audiences to explore how love and art fuel the pursuit of happiness.

Stupid F**king Bird, the mainstage production from Brock’s Department of Dramatic Arts (DART), opens at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre on Friday, Oct. 27.

Directed by retired Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts Gyllian Raby and fourth-year DART student Hayley King, the play is a contemporary adaptation of Chekhov’s classic 1896 play The Seagull written by Aaron Posner. The story follows the lives and complicated love triangles of characters Con, Mash, Dev and Nina, teenagers coming of age in rural Ontario.

Third-year Dramatic Arts student Lucas Charters rehearses on set for the upcoming Dramatic Arts mainstage, an adaptation of the famous play The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, whose face is displayed as an artistic rendering seen here as part of the staging.

As the characters wrestle with the disappointments of love, rejection and growing up in the shadow of the boomer generation, they also find hope for the future through artistic expression when they stage their own play their way.

Raby said the adaptation is faithful to Chekhov’s original comedic work, exploring themes of human relationships in society that are as relevant today as they were in 1896 when the play was written, although it was considered revolutionary at the time.

“This is a production with big ideas attempting to reproduce theatrical innovation that Chekhov sought during his time. It is irreverent and laugh-out-loud funny, even given the character’s tendencies to self-destruct,” she said.

King, who is in her final year of study with a concentration in performance, said she has greatly enjoyed working on this innovative production as Associate Director and Choreographer, especially reimagining the theatrical conventions used by Chekhov and staging them in a fresh way for new audiences.

“Working alongside Gyllian Raby, I have learned so much about creating theatre. Investigating the metatheatrical nature of the play through staging, choreography and design has been both a great learning experience and a lot of fun,” King said.

Stupid F**king Bird opens Friday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

Performances will also take place Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 29 at 1 p.m., Friday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

General admission tickets are available for $20 and tickets for students and seniors are available for $16. Visit the Dramatic Arts event website to reserve tickets.