“Just a fun evening” is how Christopher Schario describes “A Rooster in the Henhouse.”

The Public Theatre’s artistic director said this fall’s fund-raising event brings the original New York production of last season’s Off-Broadway comedy hit to Lewiston for three performances.

“It’s a show for the parents, not for the kids,” Schario said. “Hire a babysitter and join us for a comical visit with a stay-at-home dad who learns that motherhood is a man’s job.”

“A Rooster in the Henhouse” is the creation of author/actor John O’Hern, who also performs this one-man show. Based on a journal he kept during his initiation into parenthood, this comic rant includes tips on conception, the infrequent joys of married sex and his courageous efforts as a birthing coach.

“We had heard about this show on and off for a couple of years,” Schario said. “John O’Hern had just finished an off-Broadway run which had done nicely. So Schario and Janet Mitchko, TPT’s associate artistic director, reviewed excerpts of the show and decided “A Rooster in the Henhouse” is the kind of entertainment The Public Theatre’s audiences like.

Schario said O’Hern’s portrayal of multiple characters is hilarious. In the course of telling his story, O’Hern portrays an interesting assortment of people who hang out at the local bar. They include an Irish barfly, a suave obstetrician, a seen-it-all Jamaican nurse and an overly disciplined birthing class instructor.

Starting a family proved to be fertile material for O’Hern. He is an actor; his wife, Lisa, is a corporate executive. So, with his wife scampering up the corporate ladder and John hanging precariously from a lower rung, the handwriting was on the wall as to who would be the one staying home with the yet-to-be-conceived child.

In his production notes, O’Hern says the show “is also a personal examination of the effects of the long-term relationship on marital sex, on getting pregnant in the midst of sexual starvation, and the resulting pregnancy and delivery. It is a man’s perspective on the intimate details of birthing classes, gynecological visits and the feeding and nesting habits of the pregnant spouse. In short, it’s a love story.”

But most importantly, O’Hern learns that the gift of knowing his son better than most working fathers is even better than the benefit of bonding with bikini-clad moms at the beach.

O’Hern’s regional theater roles include Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” Jim in “The Glass Menagerie” and Philip in Alan Ayckborn’s “Relatively Speaking.” Off-Broadway, he created the role of Fred McMullen in “OUT.” He is a member of the Westport Theater Artists Workshop.

“A Rooster in the Henhouse” opened Sept. 21, 2003, at The Lion Theatre in the Theatre Row complex on West 42nd Street, New York. Its run was extended three weeks beyond its original engagement through last October.


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