A Chicken and Its Breast
nytheatre.com review by Leslie Bramm
August 15, 2004
Caila Lipovsky and Christine Heinisch are the driving force behind the pseudo-punk, somewhat cabaret band “Apartment Burlesque Orchestra.” They have joined forces (again in an apartment) to give us A Chicken and Its Breast. This mostly solo show is written and directed by Lipovsky, with Heinisch providing the musical or anti-musical back drop. It’s hard to pin down this piece. It’s listed in the FringeNYC Program Guide as sketch comedy/improv. It’s not quite that—this is the type of fringe experience that falls into a world of its own. You have to be patient with the play and give it time to unfold. There is a method to Chicken’s madness and it’s worth the time you will invest in it.
The play follows the story of Holly, a 20-something woman who falls in and out of bad relationships with boys and hates her mother. That could be the story of many young, neurotic women. In Holly’s mind and Lipovsky’s text, however, that would be much too easy. Holly is near a meltdown and we’re invited into her mind to share it. From the opening moments, when she blurts out “I like it when my boyfriend rapes me,” we get a feeling that the evening is moving into darker territory.
It’s hard to give a detailed synopsis of the piece without ruining some of its many surprises. Instead I’ll tell you that Lipovsky gives an energetic performance as Holly. From her adept yoga routine to the psychotic dance numbers, it's clear that she has a trained body and knows how to use it. In fact the using of her body is key to this character’s make up.
Between each scene Heinisch takes over with a musical score that is disquieting. The play shows us the ugly and dark part of Holly’s psyche. By the end you’re hoping someone will love her, or at least treat her decently. Does it happen? You’ll have to see for yourself. If your taste for fringe leans to dark meat, or thighs and breasts then A Chicken and Its Breast is the perfect piece for you.