Drama instructor Brad McEntire is the writer and lone actor in CHOP, opening March 25 at TCC-SE. Photo by: Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian
SE Campus to Present a Story of Love and Isolation
By Linah Mohammad, SE News Editor | The Collegian | March 4, 2015.
A one-man show about love, written by a SE adjunct instructor, is the next theater production on the campus.
CHOP by Brad McEntire will run March 25-27 in the Blackbox Theatre (ESEE 1316).
McEntire is excited to bring this production to SE.
“I see this production of CHOP like the SE theater department, equivalent of the other art departments, exhibiting their work,” he said.
This one-man show features only McEntire himself. It is about a man finding love in himself, in another person and in an unlikely community.
“This show is a darkly comic romance,” he said. “At the heart of it, CHOP is a love story.”
CHOP came about as McEntire was living and teaching in Hong Kong, where he felt a culture shock and the isolation of living abroad tremendously affected him.
“That sense of isolation prompted me to begin writing, and it became a major theme in the piece,” he said. “Also, I had written an earlier play that I had abandoned. It had a character that experienced a bizarre event during an otherwise romantic date. Though that play didn’t pan out, I really liked the character. That character kind of developed into the protagonist in CHOP.”
McEntire wrote this play in 2007 while living in Hong Kong. Its first premiere, however, wasn’t until 2010 in Water Tower Theatre’s annual Out of the Loop Festival in Addison. He has been performing it off and on since then.
Since this is a solo show, it is different from other traditional plays, McEntire said. It requires a lot of energy and focus on the actor’s behalf.
“This is a one-person show. I play the main character but also play about half a dozen other characters in the piece,” he said. “I am on stage the whole time, from the moment the lights come up until the end.”
The performance will be modernized. McEntire is going to break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience. The audience, in fact, has a role to play in this piece.
“If the play lags or the audience doesn’t get on board and come along on the journey in the play, it is my fault, my responsibility,” he said. “I, personally, like the challenge of that. If it were really easy, it probably wouldn’t be as fun.”
Angela Inman, SE drama associate professor, said having somebody like McEntire adds to the SE drama department and giving the students a chance to work with an active member of the professional theater is an exciting opportunity.
“We want them [students] to see that they can be proactive in developing their own performance opportunities, such as Brad has done with CHOP,” she said. “They don’t have to wait around for someone else to hire or cast them. They can create and market their own performance projects.”
The performance, as McEntire describes it, is about a man’s encounter with his true mission — a subculture of amputation fetishists.
“CHOP proves that meaning can come from the most unexpected places,” Martin Dockery, a storyteller and solo performer, said in a review on CHOP’s website. “The same can be said of Brad McEntire’s engaging performance, turning a story about a loner’s introduction into the world of amputation fetishists into a universal tale about finding one’s own place in life.”
The content is a bit weird, but it is accessible and, hopefully, awesome, McEntire said. There’s no questionable language, so anybody is welcome.
“I hope the audience goes off afterward and talk about the show and how it does or does not relate with their own lives,” he said. “In a sense, this is what all theater should do … haunt the viewer just a bit and prompt reflection.”
at the SE Campus A solo show by Brad McEntire 7:30 p.m. March 25-27 1:30 p.m. March 27 Blackbox Theatre (ESEE 1316)
Admission: Free for TCC students, faculty and staff $3 for other students or seniors $6 for the general public
Tickets:The box office opens one hour before showtime First-come, first-served