Chicken and Biscuits: ETHS’ winter play explores race, sexuality, religion in a comedic performance


Photo courtesy of Stuart Rodgers

Emir Bombaci, Staff Writer

The ETHS winter play Chicken & Biscuits created quite the uproar with its three performances. A comedic portrayal of a stereotypical Black Baptist funeral rests on the fine line between entertaining and offensive.

Directed by Tim Rhoze, the play utilized aspects of race, religion and clever playwriting to procure a positive reaction from the audience. The story follows the chaotic funeral of a reverend organized by his comically hectic family. The performance left the audience fluctuating between laughter and suspense as the story repeatedly shifts between absurd comedy sequences and tense interactions between a gay family member and his mother.

The cast knew from the beginning that this would be one of the more controversial plays to be performed in ETHS’ upstairs theater. But the actors put their trust in Tim Rhoze to deliver a thoughtful show. 

“When I work with Mr. Rhoze, I feel like the plays I do with him are very well-rounded,” says sophomore Zach Cutter, a cast member of the play. “A lot of the comedy in this revolves around religion. We’re not mocking, but [rather] using the [premise] of going to church and how Black churches work in a comedic way.”

But behind the commotion of hilarious sermons and family drama, I found myself appreciating the play not because of its humor and great energy, but because of the deeper lying social issues that the play represents. In between the moments of awkwardness and discourse within the family, Rhoze brilliantly highlights the difficulties and issues between sexual orientation, religion, and race in relationships. 

Equipped with a talented cast and a high reputation from previous ETHS plays such as Blood at the Root, Rhoze managed to produce another masterful piece of theatrics, entertaining the audience during the performance and sending them home pondering the social issues that lie within our relationships and values.