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The Theatre @ Boston Court has a rush ticket program that provides tickets to high school students at no cost:
By Damaris Montalvo
As the kind of gal who watches the same play multiple times, I’ve got to say I love understudies. I’ve written about the beauty of repeat viewings before, and one of the key reasons I love them is that I get to see a slightly different play every time. So when an understudy enters the scene, he or she brings with him/her a different kind of energy and a different interpretation of the character that makes things newly exciting. This is actually why I really appreciate that The Antaeus Company double-casts each show, as it allows me to see different hues of the same color.
At Boston Court, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing various understudies come onstage. The first understudy I recall was Julia Silverman, who stood in for Bonita Friedericy as the character of the typography professor in Futura. I remember experiencing Bonita as more emotional and Julia as more stoic, and I enjoyed them both. The emotional version of the Professor allowed me to connect with her passion and love for the written language, for ink, for smudges; the stoic version of the Professor presented a woman who was such a fierce force to be reckoned with, that The Corporation couldn’t bring her down. And both versions were true to the character.
Earlier this year, I got to see Teya Patt understudy for Kirsten Vangsness in Everything You Touch, which has been one of my favorite shows at Boston Court. I had thought that Kirsten was Jess, so I’ll admit that I had a little trepidation at the thought of anyone else playing Jess. But when I learned that her understudy was Teya, I started feeling more ease. I had seen Teya in Heavier than…, and one of her strengths is her comedic delivery and timing, so I knew she’d bring that to a character who renders her journey to identity and acceptance with a fair amount of nerdy, self-deprecating hilarity. I learned with Teya’s performance that Jess could, in fact, have a different skin. I loved how Kirsten learned to accept and play with the models/muses/chorus, while Teya was watchfully suspicious of them. I also loved that in a show where fashion is quintessential to the story and the characters, Kirsten and Teya’s outfits in the last scene were unique to them. I enjoyed this seemingly small detail because it would have been easy to have the understudy, but this show is about fashion as an extension of your identity, and it wouldn’t have been right to make them fit into the same fashion mold for a scene that’s all about self-identity and acceptance. So it was fitting for their outfits to be tailored to each of them.
Recently, I actually got to see an understudy performance for Stupid Fucking Bird, with the entire understudy cast. The only other time I’d seen an understudy performance was with How to Disappear Completely and Never be Found, so it had been a while, and I was greatly looking forward to it. I deeply enjoyed all the subtle differences between each cast.
I loved how Amy Pietz plays a bitter, biting, attention-seeking Emma, but I loved Stasha Surdyke’s subtlety, patience, and elegance in the kitchen scene when she convinces Trigorin to stay with her. I loved how Emily Goss enhances Nina’s radiant youthfulness, but I also loved how Zarah Mahler’s maturity contributes to Nina’s seduction of Trigorin. I loved Will Bradley’s tour de force performance that makes me feel every feeling there is, but I’m also convinced Jeff Nichols is Conrad, with his hipster, artistic angst. I could go on like this about the rest of the cast, but I think you get the point.
Ultimately, I appreciate understudies for their willingness to commit to their role with as much passion and dedication as the main cast. And I love that they support each other, too. When Stasha understudied for Amy last time I saw the play, I noticed that the entire understudy cast was in the audience, supporting her.
I think they all deserve our respect and our support.
Great F**king Show! Okay, stop what you’re doing . . . and go get tickets for the production of Stupid Fucking Bird at the Theatre at Boston Court. No, really, unless you’re driving or already reading Chekhov, or kissing the love of your life – you need to pause and go get seats for this co-production from Boston Court and Circle X.
Stupid Fucking Bird Is the Best Chekhov Adaptation in Two Decades: Stupid Fucking Bird is the most authentic, self-aware, playful, pathos-filled, unassuming and world-wise adaptation of Chekhov I’ve seen since Louis Malle’s 1992 film, Vanya on 42nd Street. How does one have Chekhov speak to 21st-century America? See this production.
CRITIC’S CHOICE Director Michael Michetti leads what may be Charles McNulty’s favorite ensemble of year: The whole profane title of Stupid … Bird which opened last weekend at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center, can’t be printed in a family newspaper. But I can entreat those of you with a love of Anton Chekhov and a taste for theatrical horseplay to rush out and see Aaron Posner’s bright, jocular and not in the least offensive modernization of The Seagull.
Chekhov’s The Seagull is given a highly contemporary makeover in Pasadena: The third Chekhov takeoff this year in Los Angeles (could I have missed any?), after The Country House and Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Stupid F—ing Bird may be the most self-consciously post-modern of the trio, with its resolutely present-day argot, deliberate ironic posturing and winking asides to the audience. It tries rather strenuously not to be boring or “classical,” and indeed that effort may be the only tiresome thing about it, as it almost unaccountably captures the timeless humor and complex comprehension of human foibles characteristic of any good adaptation of Chekhov.
Boston Court Scores a Bulls eye With Their West Coast Premiere of STUPID FUCKING BIRD: Chekhov aficionados open to the humanizing of his high-brow archetypes will delight in playwright Aaron Posner’s smartly written and irreverent take on Anton Chekhov’s classic The Seagull. As briskly directed by Michael Michetti, the first act whizzes by with the prerequisite introductions and conflicting relationships identified, eliciting loads of laughter and unexpected audience interactions.
Recommended: Posner’s script is clever, erudite, subversive, often funny, and always entertaining. Director Michael Michetti gives it a brilliant and lovely production, well-acted, inventive and thoughtful. Bradley’s Connie is passionate, despairing, and exuberantly physical, pursuing his ideological rants, and concluding surprisingly that maybe the old forms are still useful, but they need to be done better.
It’s a Spirited F*ing Chekhov Summer: “Michael Michetti has staged this serious fun, taking enlightened liberties with a gentle hand and very strong cast — from Will Bradley’s intense and lovelorn Conrad (“I tried, I failed, I didn’t fail better, I failed more.”) to Amy Pietz’s arrogant embrace of his indifferent actress mother, Emma Arkadina.”
One day I reviewed ‘Stupid F**king Bird.’ I f**king encourage all to go: I f**king declare this a must-see production for all those who love Anton Chekhov but are open to new artistic forms and for all those who can laugh at the pretensions of artists and the ironies of life.
High flying ‘Bird’: Aaron Posner’s new adaptation of The Seagull does more than revive Anton Chekhov’s 1896 Russian classic about longing for love and significance. It reinvigorates theater with energy and intent that bursts through the fourth wall like a dam spilling its guts onto a parched floodplain.
Passion is Still Stupid: In Stupid Fucking Bird Chekhov’s The Seagull speaks to a new age: In the hands of director Michael Michetti, that rings through all the drama, as it plays out in a tight production with a strong and engaging cast. Add to this the extra thrill of Posner’s Thornton Wilder-style dissolving of the fourth wall, including actors stepping into and out of character, and you’re looking at something compelling and genuinely fun.
Michetti’s direction beautifully mashes the discomfort into our faces, helping actors find true moments in the middle of high artifice and orchestrating designers into concert with a fascinating and difficult text. It’s still art about art, no getting around it; and yes, art could use less of that. But if you’re going to do it, this is how to embrace it.
Edgy and cutting-edge as you’d expect a Theatre @ Boston Court production to be, Stupid Fucking Bird is also as accessible and entertaining as any production I’ve seen at Pasadena’s premier intimate theater. And it’s not stupid at all. No fucking way.
Los Angeles has been treated with three new plays that use Chekhov’s Seagull as the starting out point. […] Boston Court trumps them all with a wonderfully savvy, petulant blitz through the very bowels of this Chekhov masterpiece.