(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 8/22.)

At one point in "Stupid F***ing Bird," the endlessly self-aware play by Aaron Posner that will be sweet and oft-hilarious relief for anyone who has sat through way too many shattering productions of the fragile plays of Anton Chekhov, the characters, neurotics all, start to obsess about how little they mean.

They're merely characters in a play, they tell us, and they well know that moments after they exit stage left (or right or wherever the heck), we'll be shuffling to the end of the row and checking our smartphones for whatever precious emails we missed while they were baring their souls, or, say, planning to kill themselves. They do, however, take some solace in that they are in a play with profanity in the title. That bit of bait-and-switch, they chuckle, at least has sold some tickets. Well, maybe that and a two-bit Masha, here named Mash, singing "Desperado" on her crummy little banjo.


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