The title may offend, but the play hits the mark.

Cast of “Stupid F**king Bird” on stage at ASU SLV Federal Bank Main Stage Friday, May 3 through Sunday, May 5. Pictured left to right: Emi Norfolk (Sorn), Javier Rodriguez (Dev), in the back Nate Pixley (Trigorin), foreground Jay Loebeck (Emma), Lizzie Wilson (Mash) and Carson Leaf (Conrad).

“Stupid F**king Bird” on Main Stage at ASU

ALAMOSA— The play being performed on ASU’s SLV Federal Bank Main Stage may have an off-putting title, but with strong performances by a talented cast and the vision of director and Associate Professor with ASU’s Theatre Department George McConnell, Ph.D., “Stupid F**king Bird” hits the mark.

Adapted from Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull”, Aaron Posner’s play is, as McConnell puts it, about the “the impossibility of love…that appears at the right time, in the wrong place, and with the wrong person…or the wrong time, in the wrong place, and with the right person, or…” 

It’s smart, darkly comedic and punctuated by scenes that are sometimes surprising, sometimes poignant, sometimes tragic but laced throughout with searing lines of insightful dialogue that have the audience laughing while also thinking “ouch” and wondering who has been reading their texts.

The result is a script that’s evocative, fast paced, savvy and, on occasion, requires actors to be personally courageous on stage. But McConnell, who teaches acting at ASU, pulls compelling performances from the actors who show they are more than up to the task.

Carson Leaf, who plays Conrad - a young, anguished, raging playwright – is bold and athletic with an intensity that would be exhausting were it not matched with a clear command of his character and the ability to shift mood without missing a beat. Jay Lobeck, who plays Emma, Conrad’s mother, has a caustic, comedic presence that resonates with the audience.

Livv Huffmaster as Nina, an aspiring actress, personifies an insecure yet deceptive vulnerability that reveals itself when she attempts to seduce Trigorin, a famous, well respected writer played by Nate Pixley. Pixley exudes confidence on stage, not just as his character but as an actor, with a talent that makes him as believably debonair with Nina as he is believable when dominated by the controlling Emma. Lizzie Wilson, as the black clad, ukelele playing, miserable Mash, imbues her depressive character with a pragmatic and unintended wit.

Rounding out the cast, Javier Rodriguez provides timely comic relief as Dev, an unassuming, down to earth, common sense foil who voices what some in the audience are undoubtedly thinking. In a theater that seats several hundred, Rodriguez would do well to project better so that none of his well timed, well delivered lines are lost. Finally, Emi Norfolk, sporting bushy white eyebrows and mustache, plays Sorn, Emma’s elderly brother who, while commenting on the action from a distance, emerges as an amusing yet tragic man.  

In an unexpected turn in Act One, the audience is pulled into the play when the fourth wall vanishes and Con sits down on the edge of the stage, asks for advice on how to make Nina love him and waits for a response. When suggestions finally come, Leaf shows a knack for clever improvisation.

Interaction with the audience was surprising but what would one expect? It was a play about the theatre. And if that wasn’t warning enough, the first line delivered by Con, spelled it out. “The play will begin when someone says, Start the f**king play!”

“Stupid F**king Bird” is about two and half hours long and, for those who remain concerned, yes, there’s an abundance of f-bombs in the script. But it’s an enjoyable two-and-a-half hours that kept audience members in their seats the entire time.

“Stupid Fucking Bird” has three more performances: 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4 plus 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 5. Tickets can be purchased at