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SOMERS, Wis. – UW-Parkside Theatre Arts’ play, Stupid F##king Bird, was selected as one of only five productions to perform at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre, Region 3 Festival (KCACTF) in January.
“The fact that our production was selected for the upcoming KCACTF festival is a great honor and an acknowledgement that Parkside has one of the leading theatre programs in our region,” said director Fabrice Conte-Williamson. “We train our students to create theatre that is as good as what you see on a professional stage.”
Stupid F##king Bird, written by Aaron Posner, reimagines Chekhov’s classic The Seagull that recounts a sad tale of 3 pairs of star-crossed lovers and the costs of making art in late 19th-century Russia. A major theme of Stupid F##king Bird is the search for theatrical innovation. The play’s protagonist, Conrad, says repeatedly, “We need new kinds of Theatre! New forms!” Conte-Williamson points to the rich irony that his team of students and faculty faced as they devised a way to perform the play in a new virtual format.
Abiding by safety protocols of wearing masks, socially distancing, and hand washing, the team produced a superb show that was sad, funny, and tragic, but ends happily (sort of). The production was set in a dystopian clutter with vaguely contemporary costuming and moonlit lighting. In Posner’s play, the actors are meant to interact with the audience. Without the audience, Parkside actors spoke those lines directly into one of the five cameras to arresting effect.
Because of the quality of the acting, directing, and production, coupled with the bold camera work, it is not a surprise that KCACTF would again recognize the excellence of UW-Parkside’s theatre program. The live streamed production was one of only five plays chosen this year from a field of 24 entrants in the five-state region.
The Theatre Arts department is no stranger to KCACTF awards. The department has been recognized numerous times from 2012 through 2019, and UW-Parkside students have advanced to the national level in Washington, DC four years in a row after Chelsea Strebe won for her lighting design of Silent Sky in 2019.
For a full list of Parkside’s KCACTF Awards, visit uwp.edu/learn/departments/theatrearts/awards. Visit the Theatre Arts audition page for more information on the Program Entry Audition at uwp.edu/learn/departments/theatrearts/newstudents.
Due to Covid-19, the festival will be held virtually on January 6-9. For more information on registration, please visit: https://kcactf3.org/.