What may seem like a simple comedy just shy of an hour in reality has a very deep and emotional story that may be very relatable to its audience members.
“Colonel Chicken: A Fairy Tale” is about Demi, a girl who has just broken up with her boyfriend and heads to a Colonel Chicken restaurant to seek comfort by eating away her sorrows. In a restaurant that’s open 24 hours she then decides to stay there for a while, not yet willing to face reality.
“The character of Demi is complex I will say,” said Aidan Hay, who plays the lead role of Demi. “She is very sad. She lost her mom a few years back and she’s just been broken up with and she is kind of lost. She really wants to be needed, she wants people who need her, and she really is looking for a purpose in life.”
“Colonel Chicken” is the first show of the UNO Theatre’s 2018-19 season which features shows by all-women playwrights and the first of the Connection Series. Every year the theatre department will collaborate with an organization in Omaha on one of their shows. This year, the department paired up with the Great Plains Theatre Conference, which is sponsored through Metro Community College. They will bring in new sets and playwrights every year for the conference. In recent years, UNO Theatre had been looking for a script that was written by a woman and that’s how this show came to be.
“We just decided it was time to do that,” director Ronald Zank said. “That was really a part of what was going on, we were trying to get those voices some more exposure and we choose to be more diverse in terms of gender equity, race and ethnicity.”
Aidan Hay, a senior at UNO, said this play is not one that would normally catch her interest, but the mystery of the character and her experiences captivated her.
“I like very realistic plays but when I read the script before auditioning, I really connected with Demi,” Hays said. “There was something about it that was so human that I really like. I think that’s what drew me so much to her. I haven’t gone through quite the upset that she has gone through, but I feel like she could be any of us, she’s just had specific circumstances that made her go through this specific situation.”
In a time when a large percentage of people are struggling with mental health issues, “Colonel Chicken: A Fairy Tale” aims to look at depression and fatigue in a humorous way and points the way towards relying on yourself, leaning on those around you and not being afraid to ask for help.
“It’s an interesting piece because it’s certainly funny and there’s some ridiculous things,” Zank said. “It’s a really bizarre piece, but also it’s really something people can connect to. It’s an emotional theme park. I think people will have a really good time and really have plenty to talk about.”
“Colonel Chicken: A Fairy Tale” runs Feb. 20-23, 27-28 and March 1-2. All shows are at 7:30 p.m. in the Weber Fine Arts Building Theatre and are free to any student with a MavCard.