Next up from Solo Chicken Productions’ the coop

Category: stage 164

Solo Chicken Productions team up with students from St. Thomas University to explore the world’s biggest influencers in upcoming collaborative performance.

Solo Chicken Productions’ performance ensemble, the coop, have been in the studio working in collaboration with students from St. Thomas University to create a new work of physical theatre that peeks into the sordid, lonely and occasionally hilarious minds of some of the world’s most nefarious characters.

The Despot is a non-linear physical romp that unpacks the evils, illness and myopia of characters such as Margaret Thatcher, Napoleon, Marilyn Monroe, Mark Zuckerburg and Kris Jenner. From YouTube stars gone awry to Sarah Palin’s softer side, the production pokes apart the underbelly of those that often remain one dimensional in the minds of the public.

The show was initially conceived through SCP’s COOP CORPS for a performance at the Connection Dance Works Spring Perspectives Festival in 2017.

Solo Chicken Production’s founder and co-artistic director Lisa Anne Ross decided to bring the idea back as something she could workshop with her students of her Advanced Drama Production class at STU.

“I had this idea where everybody chooses a despotic world leader to work from,” said Ross. “The initial idea came at a time when Trump had just been elected and we were all in this Trump Nation frame of mind thinking about nationalism and thinking about these really overbearing, giant personalities and wondering exactly how they have managed to gain the influence they have.

“My class at STU happens to be really physically literate so I asked if they would be up for exploring this on a deeper level,” said Ross. “Through this, the students have had a chance to work on a professional level and I think it’s been fun for them. I’m really excited about the show and it’s still coalescing so I’m not exactly sure where it will be come show time.”

Given the current state of the world, this production provides a much-needed antidote to combat the ennui that accompanies the growing proliferation of despots. And even better, the production is Trump free.

“It has been fun to work with something a bit lighter, even though nationalism and despots are no laughing matter, the characters that we’re working with are so flawed that there is a lot of room for comedy,” said Ross. “It’s like Trump. You have to laugh at times or you’re just not going to get through it.”

coop Co-Artistic Director Lesandra Dodson is currently working at STU as Artist in Residence in the English Department and this production has been the main focus of her residency work. Both Dodson and Ross have been thrilled by the dynamic and engaging work the students have been producing and are excited to share the new work with the world.

The Despot | April 5-6, 2019 | 7:30 p.m. | Black Box Theatre | Pay What You Can | View Event

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