Chickens and temp work 

Phoenix Theatre
Directed by Randy White
Through Feb. 25

Being a chicken choker would give anyone issues. Breaking those tiny necks day after day would infiltrate your psyche and do strange things to you. But starting this profession at the age of 8 … you are asking for a mental breakdown.

So it is with Genny in the Phoenix Theatre’s production of tempOdyssey, a bizarre little play that is part of a “rolling world premiere” along with Curious Theatre of Denver through the National New Play Network.

But childhood chicken trauma isn’t Genny’s only issue. She seems to have an anger-triggered self-defense mechanism that attacks people who threaten her. After fleeing her Appalachian home to try to outrun her past, Genny is doing temp work in Seattle in the hopes of losing herself in anonymity. But one of her fellow temps just can’t let that go.

The show is a fun romp through a hyperbolic version of temp hell: the insane supervisor, no bathroom breaks, total refusal to acknowledge you as an individual. Karen Irwin as Genny is a sympathetic character, even in her dark moments. Her foil and fellow temp, Jayce Ryan, goads her in an insistent but well-meaning way. Diane Kondrat, Kurt Owens and R. Brian Noffke provide the most humor in their stenciled-from-stereotype characters: mom, dad, crazy supervisor.

Randy White’s direction keeps the momentum building. The only issue with the show is its nebulous ending — but that’s a script

tempOdyssey continues through Feb. 25. Tickets are $25. Call the Phoenix, 749 N. Park Ave., at 317-635-PLAY for reservations.

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