Wakey, wakey, tendies and shakies, Colonel Chicken: A Fairy Tale has hit the UNO theater stage to raucous laughter and standing ovations.
Written by Carrie Barrett, this unique production is the first of the UNO Connections Series, a creative collaboration that highlights the work of female playwrights.
Colonel Chicken: A Fairy Tale features a young woman named Demi, played by Aidan Hay, who wanders into a Colonel Chicken restaurant after being dumped by her long-term boyfriend. When she is invited to step into the Employees Only door, she soon learns that not everything is as it seems.
Hay gives a realistic performance of a heartbroken woman that yearns for more out of life. Her stage presence and ability to read the audience makes her stand out among the all-around talented cast.
Timothy Mantil had the rare experience of acting as two characters in one play.
Although other cast members also appeared on stage as more than one character, Mantil had to memorize countless lines for both of his onstage personas, a feat that is not easily done. His performance as Xavi, the boyfriend who breaks Demi’s heart, is a stark contrast to the comedic and exuberant role of the Chicken that he plays in later scenes.
Alyssa Gonzales played a Colonel Chicken cashier named Amita, who meets Demi when she comes into the restaurant, unsure of where to go with her life. Amita acts as the voice of reason for Demi and encourages her to jump into the unknown, even if it scares her. Gonzalez played her role seamlessly, her lines, although modest at first, were delivered with a kind of quick wit that left the audience wanting more.
Although he doesn’t appear until halfway through the production, Jackson Newman, who played The Colonel, kept the audience on their toes with his shocking character. Newman was given the task of achieving a Southern accent to accurately portray The Colonel, and his dialect was well-rehearsed and well performed.
The Cooks, played by Francisco Franco, Trey Nielsen and Ben Pearson, added a slapstick comedy to the stage, and for a play with such melancholy overtones, this trio knocked it out of the park. They played off one another and encouraged each other’s comedy in a distinctive and tasteful way.
The Colonel Chicken production crew did a superb job in all aspects. The transitions were quick and efficient thanks to the crew that worked as one unit. The set design was creative and original while the lighting and sound were perfectly in sync with the scenes and movements of each actor.
Colonel Chicken: A Fairy Tale is a unique play that succeeded due to the enthusiasm and unity of the entire UNO Theatre Department.