How do you show you’re stuck? How do you show that you are in a repetitive cycle and routine? How do you differentiate between characters? How do you show that your character is in a small space? Actually, how do you portray a battery hen?
These are the questions our Year 11 drama class asked themselves when tasked with staging scenes from New Zealand Playwright, Fiona Farrell’s Chook Chook.
Stuck in the confinements of their individual cells (or cages), the girls had to deliver a captivating performance that explored the lives of four very different farm hens.
Valmai was content with life, she loved to lay her eggs and live her peaceful life under the sun (or the fluorescent tube), “all day every day”, because you know what, “life could be a lot worse”. She really was the mother hen.
Georgie thrived off community service. As the head representative of Block 4320A’s community she was certain that their organisation was a well-oiled ship, and that their jobs ran smoothly.
Chrissy was after something more. She wanted to meet a rooster. She wanted to know what life on the outside was really like. She wanted to try and fly.
Bron was the outsider. She was transferred and stirred up plenty of feathers upon her arrival. She was determined to break out of the constraints of battery farming.
The level 1 class decided upon two costumes to differentiate between the hens, nurses and prisoners. They wanted to show that too often, people can be stuck in underpaid jobs where they work hard for little or no avail. This was relevant at the time the girls rehearsed their parts as nurse strikes were happening across New Zealand.
The girls also felt that the hens were trapped against their will. Chrissy and Bron in particular behaved like they were in jail, stuck behind the bars that kept them trapped in. To build on these ideas, the girls also thought it fitting to demonstrate women’s rights and the importance of fighting for our beliefs.
The girls interpreted a very challenging script where they had to strike the balance between chicken and human to present some outstanding performances.
Miss Danielle Rieter, TIC Drama