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. :)


PBS said...

But it's interesting information! That sounds like quite a weird musical, I'd probably enjoy it!

Mel said...

That sounds like it would be good! But if it were true I would be arrested for sure with my lasix intake.

Grant said...

In this brave new future, has "see you later" and "take care" been replaced with "piss off!"?

You might like the Japanese musical comedy "Happiness of the Katakuris." It's a dark comedy (but not graphically violent) wherein the people break into song whenever somebody dies.

angel, jr. said...

Just because of the title, I probably would have gone out of curiosity.

Crystal said...

Definitely not TMI, I found it educational to learn that only 30% of the world's population use toilet paper. And you highlight just how wasteful it is using up all those gallons of fresh water just to flush down a bit of human waste. Let's bring back the pit latrine! (only joking)

Ms.L said...

LOL,that sounds fun!
I love the facts..3 years on the can eh??

Tai said...


Your blog has become very interesting...poo...pee...what next?

(but don't feel like you have too!)

glenda said...

What liberal area of the world do you live in that would allow such peecee productions?
I think all good schools need to teach pee abstinence.
Just say no to peeing in a cup.

Crazy Me said...

I know a couple of guys who will probably spend way more than 3 years on the toilet in this lifetime! LOL! Gross, but true.

Brianne said...

I love that musical :)

But what made you think that what you wrote about could have *possibly* been along the lines of TMI?? lol

JLB said...

I'd be in dire straits in that scenario... Friends have told me that my middle initial should be "P"! Thanks for sharing... I'm totally going to be on the lookout for when/if Urinetown ever makes it to my town. ;)

Dagoth said...

The Japanese Car company Toyota wanted to colaborate with the American car company Chevrolet where both car companies would design and build their planned new car together...The Japanese suggested that the new car be called buy a mixture of the two car companies names...they wanted to call it the "Toy-let"...

Weary Hag said...

Now this sounds like a great little play. I like that sort of humor.

I don't like that only 30% of the world uses TP though. Can we discuss what the other 70% use? Please?

pinkfem said...

Spider, all this talk of urine. Sure you don't want a shot at the Confessional over at my place?

Liz said...

So what do other 70% use? Leaves and corncobs?

Guess I need to use at least 11 layers now. Thanks ;)

Tim Rice said...

Fascinating. Watch it with the right people and might not be able to stop laughing. :)

badal said...

Urine town people can easily have an alternative, like drinking each others pee....lol