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Arts & Entertainment

The Chicken and the — Politics?

Little Red Hen, a politically themed satire by Jon Myers (GRS’07, COM’09), is closing its run this weekend at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre

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Jon Myers on the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre stage during a rehearsal. Photo courtesy of Kristopher Moreau

Jon Myers drew inspiration from an unlikely place when writing his current play, Little Red Hen. When Myers (GRS’07, COM’09) saw Thomas Cole’s Voyage of Life series, four paintings that represent the stages of human development, at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., he envisioned Chicken Little, Little Red Hen, Wooster Rooster, and Wise Old Chicken, the play’s principal characters. Myers also drew upon George Orwell’s Animal Farm when writing his satirical comedy. “Somehow, these two initial ideas resulted in a silly and goofy, yet deep and seriously philosophical play,” he says.

Little Red Hen, presented by the Useless Theatre Company at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, was selected for the 2008 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, where it will compete for the Rosa Parks Playwriting Award.

“I’d always wanted to write a politically themed satire that begins lighthearted and funny but moves to a darker tone,” Myers says. He compares the behavior of chickens, which have been known to join together to peck an animal to death, with the human tendency to use hateful public opinion to gang up on an individual. He also addresses the danger of blind obedience to authority, which he saw after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

“It’s the kind of play that hits you in the brain and the gut,” Myers says. “It makes an audience think and feel. I hope the play causes them to ask questions and think about moral issues.”

Performances of Little Red Hen are tonight, January 31, through Saturday, February 2, at 8 p.m., with a matinee on Sunday, February 3, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 for BU students and senior citizens and $15 for the public and can be purchased here.

Rebecca McNamara can be reached at ramc@bu.edu.

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