Members say: Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Ambitious, Original

About the show

The New York premiere of Aaron Posner's "sort of" adaptation of Anton Chekhov's classic 'The Seagull.'

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Conrad’s desperate love for Nina might just be the death of him—if his imperious mother and her latest fling don’t get there first. Aaron Posner’s wry riff on 'The Seagull' scoops up Chekhov’s tale of unrequited love, missed opportunities, and misplaced dreams and sets it down squarely in the bustle of 21st century life. But the more things change the more they really don’t—and the artist frustrated by the emptiness of modern art, the dissatisfied young woman yearning for freedom, and the has-beens and never-weres of a passing generation all still wonder: “What are we doing here?”

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"A raw, theatrically audacious version of this Chekhov classic presented in a viscerally well-acted production…Exploding the wistful, melancholy atmosphere that pervades so many Chekhov productions, Mr. Posner’s version reminds us that Chekhov was a relentless truth teller...Mr. Posner’s play is at its most trenchant and funny when it doesn’t just collapse the distance between Chekhov and today, but also encourages us to forget Chekhov entirely." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"A playwright who honors a classic by way of turning it upside down...Without any evident strain, Posner finds a modern expression for a great many of Chekhov's devices and ideas...Under Davis McCallum's direction, the flow of events, from farce to heartbreak to resignation and back again, is entirely natural, with two or more tones taking up residence on stage at the same moment...Another example of how a playwright takes borrowed materials and deftly makes them his own." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Written by Posner, the play captures Conrad’s familial and artistic frustration and torment, as well as his drive to create a new art form, a key Chekhovian concern. Conrad makes cogent points about the state of current media. And yes, he feels compelled to kill a seagull. Posner, like Chekhov, explores theater’s relevance. Plus, he follows the classic’s trajectory. It’s an interesting effort. But the feverish pitch means there is more attention paid to rants than revelation." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Posner’s 'sort of' adaptation is a deconstruction that reduces Chekhov’s cast from 14 to seven, revises their names, highlights only their most salient features, chops out much of the plot, and adds a lot of new stuff. Much of the time it seems he's replaced Chekhov's text with its subtext, a reductionist strategy that doesn't always work. The players...often struggle to find the proper tone for embodying both their characters and themselves as the actors playing those characters." Full Review

The Wall Street Journal

"I was—rather to my surprise—impressed...Most of 'Stupid Fu**ing Bird' is at once bluntly funny and unnervingly bleak...Davis McCallum has given 'Stupid Fu**ing Bird' a lively staging that underlines the comedy without undercutting the emotion, and everyone in the cast is adept at balancing laughter and anguish...Posner’s play is derivative by definition, but it’s more than just a commentary on Chekhov, and McCallum’s production lifts it far above the common run." Full Review


"A devilishly amusing riff…The Pearl is fortunate to have director Davis McCallum on board to help the actors make this radically new and original adaptation work as smartly and enjoyably as it does...Those familiar with 'The Seagull' are more likely to fully appreciate the way this adaptation has captured so much, and yet comes off as a completely original and hilarious entertainment." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"An overwrought case on the state of relationships, romance, angst, and the thing we call the theatre…Whatever goes awry is not the fault of the splendid cast or the efforts of director Davis McCallum. The seven cast members throw themselves headlong into the conflicts of their characters and their engaging performances drive the plot successfully…Meta-theatrics become mostly the-same-as-usual in 'Bird'....Where is the risk here? The fresh approach to theatre? The innovation?" Full Review


"Aaron Posner’s brilliant, Americanized, updated and deconstructed 'sort of' adaptation of Chekhov’s 'The Seagull'...restores the punch that this play must have had for its original audience as well as making it entirely and successfully contemporary...Davis McCallum has interpreted the new text with some debatable choices. However, this does not keep the play from being a brilliant example of meta-theater." Full Review

Front Row Center

"Director Davis McCallum wrangles all of the manic elements of an over-the-top script with the skill of Ben Hur at his chariot. So much could spin wildly out of control and yet it does not…The acting is excellent, particularly the bravura performance of Sears...He is at times overwhelmingly manic, but that is perhaps unavoidable, given the relentless motion of the writing...Trigorin has flashes of steeliness and lust, but in the end I was not convinced of his casting." Full Review


"Splendidly acted and thoroughly engaging…Truly a 'Seagull' for our time. The playwright translates Chekhov’s themes for modern audiences in this self-styled 'sort of' adaptation better than anyone else writing for the theater today...'Stupid Fucking Bird' does what all great adaptations should do; it honors the original while bringing something new to the table. Kudos to all involved in this masterful production, from the fine cast, to director Davis McCallum." Full Review

Woman Around Town

"'Stupid Fu**ing Bird' straddles genres like a hotheaded bull rider. It takes a little time to kick in, time during which you may wonder to what self-indulgent turmoil you’ve bought tickets. At some insidious point, however, there’s a gotcha! moment and you start having a very good time. It could be edited, but take the ride. Much of this sprawling brouhaha is smart, poignant, or astringently funny. Playwright Aaron Posner’s got his mojo on. Direction by Davis McCallum is inspired." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"Tremendous work by a skilled acting ensemble, smart designers, and the keen, firm grip of director Davis McCallum; 'Stupid Fucking Bird' is good fun...Posner has taken all the complex characters, the brilliant monologues, the rich symbolism, and raised the bar for contemporary America. It’s angry, honest, smart, sensitive, and deeply moving...McCallum never lets go of what could be a confusing mess, comfortably finding an important tone in this ensemble of gifted makers." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"A towering achievement that challenges the notion of theatrical form…So raw and free of self-consciousness, that it almost feels improvised...The way in which the actors and brilliant crew play with the form is astonishing...A single visit to The Pearl Theatre might be insufficient to take in all of its richness. For a show to be so generous in its sharing of intellectual ponderings, while providing undeniable entertainment is truly a strange, beautiful thing to behold." Full Review

As Her World Turns

"'Stupid Fu**ing Bird' is among my favorite theater-going experiences of the past month. It uses Brechtian distancing effects superbly—direct address, musical interludes, some audience interaction...Playwright Aaron Posner’s take on this classic is bold, original, and in-your-face. It pulses with an undeniable current that answers Conrad’s non-rhetorical question: yes, theater can still bring originality and excitement." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Conrad, dazzlingly portrayed by Christopher Sears, emits enough electricity to light up all of Manhattan…Bianca Amato lights up the sky as Emma Arkadina, the famous actress...'Stupid Fu**ing Bird' has been skillfully and effectively directed by Davis McCallum, who’s brought all the innovation of the concept to fruition…The one weakness of this presentation is Trigorin who comes off as a cypher...This is a stunning production." Full Review

Show Showdown

"Aaron Posner's 21st-century riff/recreation of 'The Seagull,' is well-directed, well-acted, well-designed, and a great deal of fun. Its meta approach, with actors speaking directly to the audience, silly songs, and a fresh point of view, brings energy to the familiar story...But beside entertainment--which is, of course, nothing to sneeze at--'Stupid Fucking Bird' offers little...It's a light and amiable romp, which is also nothing the sneeze at. It just seems to want to be more." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Funny, Quirky, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you enjoy offbeat adaptations of classical works.

Don't see it if you prefer a more classical approach to Chekhov.

Clever, Great acting, Refreshing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want to see Chekhov tossed on its ear, but in a good way.

Don't see it if you want a quiet, calm, non-thought provoking evening.

Funny, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Must see, Riveting

See it if you have good taste and want to see a play with great acting, compelling storytelling, and leave the theatre pondering some of the issues.

Don't see it if you are dismissive of modernizations of classic plays, are offended by foul language and gun violence, don't like direct address to audience

Original, Clever, Great acting, Must see, Entertaining

See it if You are tired of seeing dreary Chekov plays performed as they were written. Watch great actors perform a very creative play. Best of Pearl

Don't see it if You are offended by nudity and sexual scenes You only want to see the classics performed as they were written. You have no imagination.

Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a contemporary play loosely based on Chekhov's Seagull.

Don't see it if you don't like interpretations of the classics or dislike Chekhov.

Original, Clever, Edgy

See it if Chekhov, updated, made relevant and quirky and fun sounds like a night at the theatre you would enjoy. Prepare to laugh.

Don't see it if you only take your classics straight up and on the narrow path.

Exciting, Resonant, Great writing, Messy, Raw

See it if you want to see the artifice of everyday life stripped away and raw emotions on display.

Don't see it if an experimental deconstruction of a play doesn't interest you.

Clever, Intense, Quirky

See it if you like modernization of classics. Important to know 'The Seagull' by Chekhov. Some very interesting ideas along the way.

Don't see it if you don't like melodrama and some chaos.

Original, Clever, Edgy

See it if You like experimental theater and unusual stories and characters.

Don't see it if You do not like angst and enjoy traditional sequential happy stories.

Original, Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you are familiar with Chekhov's play and are interested in provocative approaches to classic works.

Don't see it if you've never encountered "The Seagull".

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Indulgent, Confusing

See it if great acting, original score, entertaining, original in conception since it transports Uncle Vanya play to modern times.

Don't see it if if you expect a more traditional play. This one can be very confusing at times.

Funny, Clever, Dizzying, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if a funny new twist on The Seagull that is either genius or complete BS or genius BS but rarely boring.Bril cast, esp Joe Paulik & Chris Sears

Don't see it if you hate Chekhov's The Seagull. There are some more banal Chekhovian scenes that slow things down and suck the originality Posner brings.

Original, Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Great writing

See it if An fantastic and surprising retelling of Chekov's The Seagull. Wonderfully acted by all. Clever set design.

Don't see it if You don't like long shows. You want to see a traditional play. This is NOT The Seagull although it is based on it.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Witty

See it if So funny, time flew. Could not believe I had been there for 2 1/2 hours . Wanted it to go on. Fabulous cast. Respond when 4th wall broken.

Don't see it if Can't imagine why you wouldn't want to see it.

Original, Absorbing, Delightful, Refreshing, Great writing

See it if You want a fresh take on Chekov's Seagull that plumbs the humor that is rarely seen in its stagings. Well cast and acted, a current Chekov.

Don't see it if You think Chekov is Serious Theatre, or a classic that shouldn't be tampered with or deconstructed to reveal its truth and relevance.

Great acting, Intelligent, Must see, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you're thrilled by the idea of a brave adaptation that gives great insights to a classic. Stunning production and concept. I saw it twice.

Don't see it if you want your Chekhov served up in a traditional fashion.

Original, Clever, Quirky, Cliched

See it if you like creatively staged shows or you're a fan of Chekhov's The Seagull.

Don't see it if very creative staging won't be enough to overcome a fairly clichéd plotline.

Great play, not the best direction

See it if Lots of great ideas here and faithful to Chekhov, which matters to me (see my profile).

Don't see it if But not great direction of the actors. Best moments were when actors engaged with audience and toned down to more authentic performances.

Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a refreshingly original and thought-provoking interpretation of Chekhov's The Seagull.

Don't see it if you are a traditionalist who prefers conventional adaptations of classic plays.

Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Intense, Great writing

See it if you want a smart & in-your-face update on a classic replete with charming musical interludes, sly cultural critiques & stirring performances

Don't see it if you don't care for meta, f-bombs, angsty protagonists, shouting, philandering, gun violence, or edgy narrative devices... but see it anyway.

Funny, Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Intense

See it if You like fresh updated interpretations of classic shows.

Don't see it if You want a faithful replica of Chekov's work.

Original, Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Quirky

See it if you like quirky humor, enjoy the fourth wall broken, think Chekhov could use a good ribbing, care for a modern take-off on The Seagull

Don't see it if you regard Chekhov as a master who cannot be violated, don't like the f-word which is used a lot, don't like actors talking to audience

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a well-acted, thought provoking retelling of a classic that is riddled with conflict, sadness, and some happiness.

Don't see it if you want to see a simple story with little character development. Bring a jacket, theater is freezing.

Disappointing, Posner doesn't shed any light on chekhov's masterpiece., Well-acted.

See it if You don't mind sophomoric humor. It DOES have some clever moments.

Don't see it if You will long for, as I did, a wonderful production of the real Sea Gull.

Ambitious, Quirky, Confusing, Messy

See it if You appreciate non-traditional approaches to classic stories

Don't see it if You value coherence and the fourth wall

Cast & Creatives (14)