Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Urinetown, the Musical
Little Sally I don't think too many people are going to come see this musical, Officer Lockstock.
Lockstock Why do you say that, Little Sally? Don't you think people want to be told that their way of life is unsustainable?
Little Sally That, and the title's awful.
---quote from Urinetown: the Musical
My mother and I went to see a musical with the unlikely title Urinetown the other day, a Broadway production put on by the local highschool players. It was getting great reviews for a production about pee. "Ya gotta go!", they said. :)
Yeah, well when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. Excuse me, gentle readers, but I will be mentioning natural bodily functions at least several times more in this post.
Urinetown takes place in a future time when severe water shortages and drought have resulted in the government and big business (the Urine-Good-Company) taking charge of the local amenities---the poor citizens have to pay to pee, and are subjected to ever-increasing fee hikes. Some citizens may not have enough money to pay the daily toll, but penalties are harsh for those trying to avoid paying by peeing in the bushes, as it were. In fact, violators of the public urination rule may just find themselves hauled off by the local police force to a mysterious and sinister place known as Urinetown.
Well, eventually the people revolt and try to take back the toilets---starting with Public Amenity #9 !
This is one of those musicals that manages to be a satire of both society and other musicals. There are heavy underlying themes here: corporate greed, environmental destruction, the slippery slope of the good guys losing the moral high ground. But all the misery is played out in cheerful song-and-dance routines and subtle (and-not-so subtle) pop-cultural references to other musicals such as Les Miserables and West Side Story . The more musicals you've seen, the more you will appreciate it.
Some will find it heavy-handed. Some will find it intelligent. It definitely made me laugh, mostly from the humour, but sometimes from the surrealism. I thought it was a lot of fun, and the only time ever I've heard the word "piss" in a high-school production.
It's funny, I mentioned I was going to this musical to one of the parents at the preschool where I work.
She looked wildly around to see if any children were listening, and said in hushed tones: "Isn't that the play where they talk about...pee?"
I tried not to laugh. After all, we talk about pee all day, every day with the children: Don't forget to go pee! Have you peed yet? Don't wait to pee--go right away! Wash your hands after you pee..and so forth.
Anyway, I leave you with some trivia about toilets that was posted in the hallway outside the theatre....
* The average family uses 119 rolls of toilet paper in a year.
* Most toilets flush in the key of E flat.
* Germs in human waste can pass through 10 sheets of toilet paper.
* Only 30% of the world's population uses toilet paper.
*Each day, North Americans use 4.8 billion gallons of water to flush toilets.
* The average person spends three years of their life on the toilet.
This may be too much information. :)