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Help These Chickens Take Their Play To The Edinburgh Fringe

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Six years ago, I wrote an opening scene for a play about chickens living in a factory farm attempting to find hope and meaning in a comically impossible situation. Many of you have come to know the play simply as “Chickens” and have been an active part of its development over the years.

I brought these initial pages to Naked Angels’ cold reading series, Tuesdays@9, where I got to watch talented actors perform my scene in front of a live audience. And, honestly, when it comes to doing this work, audience is everything.

From laughing at the lines to offering up kind words and praise, from listening to updates about its development and urging me to keep going, the support you’ve already shown for this work has been more important than you know.

Over the course of the next few years, I brought in scene after scene to “Tuesdays” and regularly workshopped sections with Matthew DiLoreto, my longtime collaborator and friend since our formative years back in Portland, Oregon. Matt starred in the first unofficial staged reading as Bronseman (aka Hamlet in feathers) in my living room for an audience of two people and a cat. The cat had some good notes.

Soon after, Naked Angels produced a full-length staged reading of the play in the summer of 2022. Little did I know that this night would also be the catalyst for getting the rest of the cast onboard, with Audrey Rapoport as Helen and Eric Kirchberger as Reginald.

For years I had dreamed about participating in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It’s the most important performing arts festival in the world. After 77 years it is the largest ticketed event outside of the Olympics and the World Cup. Many of its participants have become household names and many shows that make a splash there go on to career making runs in major markets.

I approached Matt about starring in the play and together we began brainstorming what it would take to get it into Edinburgh. That’s when everything really started moving and Matt and I began having the right conversations to get accepted by Assembly, one of the top venues at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Then other big things started rapidly falling into place. A friend and HBO costume designer has DONATED her time and incredible talents to create our intricate costume pieces. A Broadway set-designer joined to build the collapsible cages that will be the central set piece. Family has already stepped up to help arrange really affordable accommodations for the whole cast.

Which brings us to this point here: We love this project and believe deeply in its potential. We have a budget of $35,000, which includes marketing, rehearsal space, set and costume material costs, transportation, and living costs for the month for actors (who by the way are also donating their time and talents).

35,000 is a big number. BUT we’re excited to announce that an anonymous donor has committed to matching the first $10,000 in gifts!

Anything you can offer in the form of monetary donation is the final push we need to turn this whole amazing experience into a reality. Even a buck is nothing to *bwak* at. After all, you wouldn’t want us to chicken out. Isn’t this eggciting? It’s a lot of hard work and we know it won’t be overeasy. Okay there. Puns are done. Promise.

We start our 4-night New York run next week at Under St. Marks Theater, which also has a livestream option available to anyone anywhere. And with your help, we will be able to take the show to Edinburgh in August. Check here for tickets.

We’re so grateful for all of your support and look forward to sharing more updates with you along the way!


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Donations 

  • Roberta Bonisson
    • $100 
    • 4 d
  • Sarah Banger
    • $50 
    • 5 d
  • Holly and Steve Berman
    • $50 
    • 10 d
  • Daniel Rapoport
    • $861 
    • 16 d
  • Marika Reisberg
    • $50 
    • 27 d
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Organizer

William Schaumberg
Organizer
Brooklyn, NY

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