Review: Stupid F***ing Bird

The Baldwin Wallace theatre program does not let a pandemic stop them from spreading thought-provoking plays to the student population like Aaron Posner’s “Stupid F***ing Bird.”

Actually, this is not a “play”: that is made very clear throughout the show. It is more so a play within a play that puts a harsh light on the truths of life that some of us wish we could just ignore until we die.

Take the protagonist, Conrad: a young adult playwriter struggling to please his aging actress mother who thinks he is insulting her profession with his work. Then, add in the elements of a love triangle between mother and son–yes that’s right–but the two are quickly eliminated from the equation when their significant others fall in love with each other. Add in a couple of other characters like Mash, who is blindly in love with Conrad, and Dev, who believes that he and Mash are meant to be. I also cannot forget to mention Sorn, Conrad’s uncle, who is struggling with a constant mid-life crisis, or possibly just a life crisis, and is thoroughly ignored because everyone else is so absorbed with their own troubles.

The romances are messy and embarrassing for not only the characters but also the audience watching, who is constantly reminded that they are watching a performance since the characters frequently rant satirically about the complexity of theatre nowadays and even directly address the audience at some points.

What really stood out to me at the end, though, was when all the characters stood together and revealed how and when they died. Conrad decided he did not want to end the play killing himself, and ended the play on his own terms. An ending scene like that definitely leaves you thinking. As an audience member of many performances, I have never once thought about characters controlling their own plot and not just simply going through the motions of the show. Stupid F***ing Bird is depressing, intense, and complex, but the outcome is worth it. It is a definite reminder that life hardly goes the way we want it to, and sometimes that can just bottle up inside us until we explode.

I very much applaud the cast of this show for tackling these difficult topics during such a tension filled time in the world. Especially while wearing masks and avoiding physical touch, it almost seems impossible to do but they pulled it off with flying colors.