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Fowl Play at the Gershman Y
Photo: Lynn Brooks

Fowl Play at the Gershman Y

by tD writers and friends

tD writers and friends respond to a reinvention of Allan Kaprow’s Chicken, presented at the site of the original 1962 “Happening”—the 2020 version by Alex da Corte with choreography by Kate Watson Wallace.


Circus barkers barking at the moon
Moonbeam-illuminated eggshells
And not a chicken in sight.
                      -   Jonathan Stein


A thick crowd clusters around Chicken’s carnival attractions, slowly shuffling, cautious and confused.
The lights cut off and the room fills with a red glow, echoing the blood-curdling screams of the performers.
In a room filled with chaos, I find comfort in the egg-shaped artist who sits, caged, with their face buried in a newspaper. One aspect of calm.
                       -   Preeti Pathak

When did it happen for you?

When the table broke at Broad and Pine when the blue night light music was cut with the yellow spotlight smoke — say chicken, say uncle, say call your mother, or stay open ended like the moment when nobody called your name; they didn’t have to.
                       -   Thomas Devaney


The audience shuffles between performers elevated on mini stages around the theater. The performers take turns giving impassioned sales pitches for products. It’s like a trade show—only the products are pieces of the moon and eggs, appearing everywhere.
                        -   Kristi Yeung

A happening? – Rather, a highly-choreographed lunacy of coordinated costumes, turn-taking acts, too-long carny pitches.
An elaborate pink frou-frou alchemist mixes up the COVID vaccine we’ve been waiting for. Wishful thinking.
That geometrically red space-queen is trying too hard, unleashing mob chaos upon one innocent individual.
                         -   Lynn Matluck Brooks


From different stations, people loudly sell the moon as a cure-all. Lightbulbs, eggs, and dinner rolls get smashed. A riot erupts; the moon sales-people grab me and scream "back up!"
                         -   Leslie Bush


I stood, shoulder to shoulder with strangers, as the woman on the platform blew sparkling pixie dust and disc-shaped confetti over my head. It billowed all around, and for a moment I felt out of this world—like being surrounded by falling snow on a dark night. It was intoxicating. And after that moment, as I stood in the large crowd, often unable to see, I hoped that it was happening to others.
                         -   Kristen Shahverdian

Allan Kaprow's "Chicken" (1962), reinvented by Alex da Corte, Gershman Hall, University of the Arts, March 5.

By Jonathan Stein
March 15, 2020

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