Beware the Man Eating Chicken

by  Henry Meyerson

Full Length Play, Dark Comedy  /  2m, 3f

"Edgy...shocking...uncomfortably funny and bizarre...outrageous black-as-midnight comedy...sublimely ridiculous end result of being enormously entertaining." - The Times-Standard, Eureka, CA
Betty, wanting to be a good mother to her son William, devises a plan to Make Him Bigger and Make Him a Winner. She enters William in the "Fattest Man in the Universe" contest, and she is determined to win.

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Beware the Man Eating Chicken

by  Henry Meyerson

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 3f
  • Duration

    Duration

    90 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Farce
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Not Applicable
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Betty, wanting to be a good mother to her son William, devises a plan to Make Him Bigger and Make Him a Winner. She enters William in the "Fattest Man in the Universe" contest, and she is determined to win. Carole, Betty's younger sister, too weak to stand up to Betty's threats and intimidation, is forced to assist in the endless round of cooking the dozens of chickens needed each day for William's inexorable assault on hugeness. When Captain Leonard of the Board of Health comes to check on the "large carnivore" that is devouring twenty chickens a day he is initially an annoying bureaucrat, but ultimately a timely dessert. Albert, claiming to own one of the largest chicken farms in the U.S. arrives to negotiate a deal. For using William's picture on the logo of his product Albert will pay Betty a percentage of the profits on each bird sold and ancillary rights on tie-ins. The deal is struck. When Dorothy, Albert's sister, appears claiming she is the true owner of the chicken farm, a struggle between the siblings ensues for control of William and the potential fortune at stake. But it is Doctor Martin who brings the tragic coup de grace to Betty and her plan for achieving her goals of motherhood.
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Reviews

"Henry Meyerson's one-act is a classic, well-constructed, three-door farce. Its subtext may be a critique of American capitalism, but Meyerson keeps the complaint subtle and focuses instead on recognizable family dynamics: The situation is inherently absurd, but the characters all act with their own skewed logic." - Columbus Dispatch

"Edgy...shocking...uncomfortably funny and bizarre...outrageous black-as-midnight comedy...sublimely ridiculous end result of being enormously entertaining." - The Times-Standard, Eureka, CA

"Think The Honeymooners meets Little Shop of Horrors...fans of theatre, even vegetarians, should make a hearty meal of this superlative evening...headlong romp...edgy absurdity and laugh-out-loud humor" - The North Coast Journal, Eureka, CA

"A play about gluttony, cannibalism, human waste and greed. It is a satire with the potential to gross-out the audience...A comedy that was 75 minutes of sheer delight." – Stageways, Spokane, WA

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: Living room of a small house. The living has a dining table, a couple of chairs and a sofa, all in deplorable condition. Essential to the play are lots of mock-up whole chickens; lot's of 'em.
  • Additional Features: Physical Comedy
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

2m, 3f
BETTY SMITH - wiry and sloppily dressed; tough as nails, heavily made up; hard to tell, but probably in her late 40’s, early 50’s
CAROL SMITH - Betty’s younger sister; small, wizened, tight-faced, looks self-righteous and is
CAPTAIN LEONARD - slightly moronic look, but feels selfimportant; wears a bloody apron and carries an attaché case
DOCTOR MARTIN - played by the same actor as Captain Leonard; looks like a doctor; he has a stethoscope around his neck to prove it
ALBERT - looks sleazy and is; a five-dollar body in a thousand-dollar suit
DOROTHY - Albert’s sister; oozes money and craftiness
WILLIAM SMITH - off-stage voice and various gaseous emissions
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Cast Attributes

  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

The play also requires an off-stage male voice capable of deep, gutteral, intestinal noises.

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Authors

Henry Meyerson

Henry Meyerson's publications with Samuel French include the full-lengths Beware the Man Eating Chicken, Shtick, and

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