This past weekend, the Kenyon College Players (KCP) put on an original play by Alexandra Bianco ’23 titled Two Birds and a Bag of Bones. The play was a one-act show lasting roughly 45 minutes but, despite its brevity, was a huge success.
The two leads, Wigberta and Lucinda, were played by Raya Kenney ’25 and Grace McManus ’22, respectively. The play is set in the UK, and takes place in the apartment of two young women, on the day of Wigberta’s 30th birthday. While the show primarily relies on absurd humor to carry the plotlines, the main premise is that Lucinda has brought a delusional old man to their home in hopes that they can swindle him out of his money. Chaos ensues, introducing characters such as oblivious policemen who wield water pistols.
Both actresses did a comical job of mimicking stereotypical “Chav” culture (British slang for a young person with connotations of low social status) with exaggerated accents, punctuating each sentence with “innit” or “babes” and sporting dresses and smudged makeup to appear as if they had just returned from a night out clubbing.
The entire show was clearly fun for both the actors and the audience, whose energy was lively. Because the production was in the small Harlene Marley Black Box Theater, the setting was extremely intimate with a tightly packed full house in front of a restricted stage. The set reflected the sort of humor that the play conveyed, with random cleaning products and food containers set out, and a window made from a piece of paper taped to the wall.
A note from Bianco included in the program explained where her inspiration came from: She was assigned to write a scene about people she disliked for a playwriting class, and chose the women on Love Island. They are, like most reality television stars, stereotyped as one-dimensional and shallow. “Upon first glance, they appear materialistic, hyper-obsessed with their bodies and appearance, and incredibly selfish. However, as I stretched my 5-page scene into a one-act play, I found that there was much more stewing below the surface,” Bianco wrote.
Bianco successfully used humor to explore the lives of seemingly shallow individuals to unravel how friendships are formed and maintained, which made the play fun to watch and also allowed it to unpack certain stereotypes associated with lower-income homes.
Overall, the show was a big success. It is particularly impressive that KCP was able to put on a production right after the COVID-19 wave that had many students ill or identified as a close contact. Thankfully, however, the campus is back to being able to support creative endeavors like Two Birds and a Bag of Bones, which every actor and crew member worked extremely hard on.