by Max Katz
Ailleen is on the cusp of her sixteenth birthday, the coming of which will bring both joy and pain. In this scene we see Ailleen for the first time, and instantly feel the trepidation that is hidden underneath the anticipation, longing and song. For Ailleen, the interior of the chicken shop, on the corner of an ordinary street in Wembley, holds the possibility of change, flight and freedom. Flight and freedom from a life, dictated by her alcoholic mother and scarred by a life of bullying at school. Ailleen’s only friend and ‘soul mate’ Ryan is with her, trying to make sense of her day dreams and riddles.
Ryan is more concerned with the impending opening of the chicken shop ‘Manhattan’. He’s in charge of fixing up the shop for opening, but the fryer’s playing up, he’s way behind schedule and the chance of opening up in time is ‘slim to none’!
Ailleen’s concern is for her older brother Ricki. She is haunted by the disappearance of her older brother; a brother who is believed to be a soldier, missing in action. Ailleen is unconvinced and determined to discover the truth about her brother’s whereabouts. She longs for his return, in time for her birthday celebrations and believes, hope against hope, that this dream will become a reality. But dreams, often times, turn into nightmares.
If you peel the skin away from someone do you think people would recognise who they were? From their voice, or from the way their eyes moved, or from how their teeth fit together. Do you think Ricki’ll find a way out- for my birthday? Prisoners escape don’t they.
Box Chicken was produced as part of Write Now 5, and was directed by Mark Leipacher.
Max Katz is a New Writer, with a track record of success in receiving rehearsed readings at prominent theatres. These include the Royal Court Theatre, Soho Theatre, Young Vic Theatre (as part of Talawa Theatre’s ‘Flipping the Script’) and the Jack Studio Theatre.
Max has been shortlisted and long listed for theatre awards, including, twice shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award (2006 and 2008), shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award (2008), Shortlisted for BareBones (2010), long listed for the Bruntwood Award (2012) and a winner of Write Now 5 (Brockley Jack Theatre) in 2014. Max has been twice nominated for the Adopt a Playwright Award (run by OFFWestEnd.com); in 2014 by the Brockley Jack Theatre and in 2010 by Tristan Bates Theatre. Max was also shortlisted by Theatre503 for their 503Five writer attachment programme, in 2011.
Max has held informal attachments at the Royal Court Theatre (2008) and Clean Break Theatre (2010-11). In recognition of Max’s abilities as a writer, Max has also been one of the Royal Court Theatre’s Super Group and Critical Mass Writers, as well as one of the Soho Theatre Hub writers.
Max is currently a member of the BBC Writersroom inaugural London Voices Group.