Inside STUPID FUCKING BIRD Part One: An Actor Playing an Actor Inside STUPID FUCKING BIRD Part One: An Actor Playing an Actor
To be honest, this play scares the hell out of me. That's one of the reasons I said yes. Inside STUPID FUCKING BIRD Part One: An Actor Playing an Actor

Pictured: Kate Gilchrist

In this 3-part series, PerformInk takes you inside Unicorn Theatre’s production of STUPID FUCKING BIRD through blog posts written by the people behind the scenes. To read past “Inside” articles click here.


I started this blog at least five times before writing this version. I didn’t know how to begin…

So, here we go: I love theatre. It is a vocation I’m honored to be called to, and feel extraordinarily fortunate I get to work in this community. That may sound like lip service, but to understand some of Emma, I had to understand more about myself.

To be honest, this play scares the hell out of me. That’s one of the reasons I said yes. As actors, we often have moments of sheer panic, of “ohmygodthey’renotgoingtoletmenearatheatreagainBLARF” that we have to work through to tell the story of these people…and what a story this is. STUPID FUCKING BIRD is, according to Aaron Posner, “sort of” adapted from The Seagull by Anton Chekhov. Heavy, right? Gunshots, loss, weeping, etc. What always troubled me about that play was its inactivity. We get it: everyone is unhappy, but what are you DOING about it?

One of the things I loved when I read the script was how very active and alive it was. How “aware” it is of itself. We all know we are in a play. How we navigate, emotional transitions between a stage version of ourselves and the characters we play has been at the core of our rehearsals. How does Kate play Emma? How does Kate play Katie G? We all have masks we wear in public, and I am not as gifted as Emma in the navigation of her “brand,” of her fame, of her very self. Being an actor playing an actor is a challenge that has motivated me throughout this process. What can I do to elevate her speech, her mannerisms, her posture, her appearance? What falls away in the moments when she is vulnerable and fighting for her happiness? I look forward to the discoveries that happen when the audience joins us, when that final piece is in play, and we are living in this remarkable story.

Now, what does this have to do with the holidays? Why should you see this play? The simplest answer is: family. Come laugh with us. Cry with us. Suffer and soar with us. You won’t hear a single holiday jingle, but your heart will be moved. My fellow actors are telling heartbreaking and hysterical stories; and if you give yourself anything this season, let it be the opportunity to be in the room when local theatre artists bring you this honest and emotional evening.

STUPID FUCKING BIRD runs November 29th – December 23rd. For more information visit nicorntheatre.org.


Katie Gilchrist (EMMA ARKADINA) is elated to be back at the Unicorn where she was last seen in Men on Boats. She is a co-founder of Bohemian Cult Revival, the co-Proprietrix of The Pearl, and Artistic Director of KC Irish Theatre. She is a member of the Late Night Theatre Girls’ Troupe, an educator with Crossroads High, and a director/creator for Worlds of Fun/WinterFest. Voted Best Actress by Pitch Readers (2013-2016). Past Unicorn credits include: Lobby Hero, Intimate Apparel, Rabbit Hole, Distracted, and Everyday Rapture. Upcoming: Hedwig and The Angry Inch (Egads), Inaugural Season of KC Oyster Cult, and quite a few naps. For the Charlotte furries.

PerformInk Kansas City

PerformInk Kansas City is the KC area's leading source for performing arts and entertainment news.

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