Genre: a comedic “vaudeville” with dramatic elements
Running time: 65 – 75 Minutes
Cast: (Male/Female): 3/0
In “ALL THINGS CHICKEN“, two guys talk about profound things in profoundly foolish ways. They obsess. They spar. They ask the big metaphysical questions: should they eat barbeque or fried chicken? Why does one say “oh, god” during sex? Do extra-terrestrials notice the light we generate on earth?
The title is a double entendre referencing the literal variations of Fast Food and living in fear, particularly the male variety of such.
Structurally, I label this play a vaudeville both because it is a comedy and because it has a circular structure, like “Waiting for Godot” and also like Godot, it is made up of “routines” that the “boys” create not just to pass the time but quite literally to survive.
For each character has a reveal (mid-way for Ray, and near the end for Dave) of despair and/or loneliness that underlies ALL of the comedy. In other words, the play has a deceptively light surface. Their patter is a desperate bid to make a fairly meaningless moment into something significant. Also, unlike the aforementioned theatrical role model, hope is not obliquely embodied by a single leaf on a bare Beckettian tree, but rather is more overtly the light in the night sky, and the plot more clearly clear moves forward in time even while it circles back.
For “…Chicken” is both a comedy about how NOT to live one’s life, and a paean to the saving grace of friendship – no matter how dysfunctional.
CAST (in Order of Appearance)
– Raymond Chardas: in his early thirties; slightly overweight, a bit gawky; overbearing in his own way: full of energy, laughter and depression; takes himself far too seriously. – – —
– Dave Shipman: in his mid-twenties; smaller in size compared to Ray; overbearing in every way but charming nonetheless, a manipulative angel; a nudge; Ray’s equal and opposite.
– The Veteran (a.k.a. Thomas O’Leary: in his late forties to early fifties; a large, physically powerful man with literal as well as psychic wounds.
Note: since “…Chicken” has a run time just over an hour, it may be more viable for a theatrical evening to include a companion piece. The 25-30 minute one-act “Some Place on the Road” could serve as such. As in “…Chicken”, a monologue from this play was adapted for publication in Smith & Kraus “Audition Arsenal” series.