Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight. Chicken. Road. by Lindsay Price is an issue-based play for high school performers that is not an answer to the issue, but an amazing forum to start the discussions.
Why did the chicken cross the road? Why is the sky blue? What’s two plus two? Why did he kill himself?
A group of teenagers grapple with unanswered questions as they struggle to understand why someone would run out on to the highway in front of semi. Especially when that someone seemed to have it all.
Here’s a chicken. Here’s the road. There’s the other side. What do you do when there is no answer?
Why did we publish this play?
Our philosophy at Theatrefolk is that issue plays should start conversations, not be the answer to the issue. Chicken. Road. is all about questions, especially the big one “Why would someone who has it all, kill themselves?” The play shows students struggling with this questions and others, and it presents a possible doorway for teenagers to share their own struggles.
The original staging for the play is very simple – a line of students. There is no identified set. This would translate easily to a virtual platform, in fact, the isolation that some of these characters feel would make for a vivid image in a virtual production.
1. Why did you write this play?
The question “why” is always the first people often ask when someone they know commits suicide. And that’s because they want a clear cut answer – two+two=four. And the truth is there is no answer. I wanted to explore that question in a theatrical context. I also feel that issue plays should start conversations rather than be the one and only answer. That was definitely my goal for the script.
2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
Suicide cannot be easily explained.
3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
There’s a moment in one of the final monologues in which the best friend of the teenager who killed himself describes the reaction from his mother: “She wants to throw her swarm of questions at me and watch me die from the stings.” I think that is a vivid picture of someone who is desperate to find an answer, and someone who just doesn’t have the answer.
4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
Yes, this is a serious subject and should be treated seriously. But also remember that this is a play. It has to be theatrical. There has to be a variety of tone. An audience will turn off if the play is one note from beginning to end. There’s some humour in the play, don’t ignore or downplay it.
5. Why is this play great for student performers?
This is a topic that some adults would rather not discuss with teens. They don’t want to touch sensitive subjects – if they don’t talk about them, they don’t happen. Which of course is the opposite of how to address a sensitive topic. Students need to talk, to figure out how they feel, and to express their opinions. Refusing to talk about suicide helps no one.
6. Why is this play great for online platforms?
The staging of the play is very simple – a line of students. This would translate easily to rows of Zoom boxes.