SCC fights for the freedom to pee with Urinetown

Front left to right: Norah Peters, Gabe Ponce, Noah Bruckshen, and Aviona Rodriguez-Brown. Back left to right: Dima Pogrebniak, Danny Bracy, Jay Villenhaur, and Joshua Pulley.
Photo by Martin Musialczyk

By Madeline Kimberly

As human beings with a working urinary system, we tend to pee a lot. We dislike having to go to the toilet as much as the next person; having to go sometimes in the most unfortunate moments just so that our body can relieve itself of warm, yellow liquid can be inconvenient. You may not think about urine much, but in the musical “Urinetown,” you will be hearing more about pee in the span of two hours than most people do in their entire lives. Not in that disgusting way you’re probably thinking about though; more like in a completely hilarious and perceptive manner through songs about pee!

Let’s start off with the fact that the musical is set in a scary, dystopian world.

A dystopian theme is all the rage nowadays, ranging from “Hunger Games” to “The Terminator”. The show is set in the distant future where the right to pee is tightly controlled and manipulated by a rich, large and, of course, evil corporation. The right to pee was taken away after decades of drought; there wasn’t enough water supply for everyone to own a private toilet and just pee.

The story follows the rebels who are fighting for the freedom to pee, led by the small people’s hero, Bobby Strong, who disagrees with the authoritarian system in his world. And like most other musicals, “Urinetown” would be incomplete without its star-crossed lovers: the handsome and dashing Bobby Strong and the beautiful, kind-hearted and clever Hope Cladwell. In short, it’s a “fun,” “bizarre” and “playful” show that will have you giggling at the edge of your seat until the curtains close.

This musical comedy was based on one of the writers’, Greg Kotis, inability to freely pee in Parisian pay toilets in 1995 because he didn’t have the money. Kotis ended up joining forces with Mark Hollmann to write the play. It was directed by John Rando in 2001 on Broadway at Henry Miller’s Theatre. This musical has three Tony Awards under its belt.

The musical’s biggest aspect may be its comedy. Its plot is the kind of story that leaves you wondering and eager to talk about it afterwards.

You may be thinking, why make such a weird musical revolving around pee? Well, apparently the writers thought they were weird too, because throughout the play the characters tend to be very “satirical”; the characters make fun of the musical itself throughout the play.

John Nold has been in the business for about 12 years and he does “a little bit of everything” in SCC’s theater productions, but for this show, he takes on the role of stage manager. One sentence that comes to his mind at the mention of “Urinetown” is that “it’s a privilege to pee.” Deborah Hathaway, the director, has actually taken a role in another reproduction of “Urinetown” during her musical career, so she had a “particular affection” towards it.
With the timing so close to the election, the musical touches on issues we are currently dealing with: a divide between those who are privileged and those who are not, scarcity, bureaucracy, police brutality and so much more. You’ll have to watch the musical to find out.

If you’re still not convinced that “Urinetown” is going to give you a jolly good time, then watch for the actors who are wholly dedicated to making this show a riveting experience. Hathaway is excited to be working with such an energetic and dedicated cast.

“On the first or second day of rehearsal, we were reading through the script and it was coming to the end, I was thinking that we should take a break, cause maybe everybody wants to go home but they (the actors) said no, can we keep going,” Hathaway said regarding her experience with the cast of “Urinetown.”

The rendition of “Urinetown” on campus has actually given opportunities to actors who wouldn’t be able to participate in the musical if the rehearsals were done during the day because they hold their practice during the night, much like community theaters, which gives many the opportunity to take part. The actors all come from a diverse background with a large range of age groups, but Nold calls them all “Shoreline students.” Hathaway said that while some of the auditions were unexpected, she didn’t see the character in them until they actually belted out the notes.

The idea of bringing “Urinetown” to the campus had been brewing for almost a year before it actually happened. The auditions for the show began in the summer so the show would be ready just in time for fall.

The show will be playing from Oct. 7 to Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 3:00 p.m. on Sundays in the theater. Tickets are on sale for only $9 to SCC students.

What better way to greet October than to watch a play about pee? With it being fall and having the campus totally packed, Nold and Hathaway are expecting a full house so if you do want to watch this amazing, hilarious musical that was put together by equally amazing and talented people, you definitely should. I suggest you get your tickets as soon as possible at Brown Paper Tickets or get them at the door.

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