A chat with SFB actor Matthew Grondin about "the meta"
Q: "Stupid F*cking Bird" is a show that is very aware of itself - that is to say that the characters know that they are in a play and, at times, comment to the audience about their role in the story. What do you find interesting or challenging about this conceit and what excites you about this play?
A: I love this play, and the world that Posner has written. One thing that really excites me about doing live theatre, is finding those moments in rehearsal when you, as your character, feel several different emotions about one given circumstance all at the same time. Maybe you’re pissed off about something, but then you feel sad for the other person involved - but then also guilty that you got pissed off. And then maybe even a little satisfied that they feel bad - but then you’re mad at yourself for feeling that way! And that, I think, is what happens in real life. Rarely do I find that I have just one single thought about things. I think there’s often a struggle. And Posner has written characters that really allow you to explore that struggle. And if we as actors have challenged ourselves to dig into this during rehearsals, each performance will have many different colors that pop up and surprise everyone on stage! Maybe one night you’re more upset, and the next night you find that same moment a little more ridiculous. But you’ve explored the world of your character enough to trust all that is correct - and then you are free to just communicate and live with the other actors on stage.
An added layer of this that’s particularly fun in this specific play, is that there are almost several worlds that are all happening at the same time. (I’ve never been in a play where the word “meta” was used so much in rehearsals!) I’m playing the role of Dev - but in a way, I’m also playing myself (Matt) playing the role of Dev - and being able to comment on the circumstances that Dev is finding himself in. And because of that, it adds a whole other level of feelings and emotions that may or may not be perfectly jiving with each other. And that’s messy and complicated. And, for better or worse - that’s how life is. And I think a big reason people go to the theatre is to see others in real-life circumstances, and then get a snapshot into how they deal with it.