As the 2015-16 school year is nearing its final curtain call, the UVa-Wise Theatre Department has already produced three performances. With evident dedication and passion, the department is set to present its fourth production by bringing “Urinetown: The Musical” to Wise.
With an award-winning script and unexpected plot techniques, new aspects emerge in order to create an authentic theatrical adventure unlike any other.
““Urinetown” opens during a drought that has lasted twenty years and shows no signs of stopping. Private toilets are unthinkable due to lack of water, so everyone has to pay a fee to use the public amenities,” said sophomore theatre major Lorraine Dresch. “If you try to pee for free, the police have the authority to haul you off to Urinetown, a mysterious place that is kept a secret, but everybody’s got their suspicions.”
Dresch, who portrays the character Little Sally, had plenty to share when talking about the collage of techniques working together in the play.
“This production is flush with satire, irony, and comedy,” Dresch said. “I particularly enjoy the spontaneous song and dance numbers, fourth-wall breaks, and puns on all the ways we can describe our bathroom habits. This musical doesn’t take its pay-to-pee plot too seriously, and neither should the audience.”
Not only does Dresch act in the play, she is also the costume designer and choreographer, being the first student choreographer since 2013.
With the variety of aspects working together, “Urinetown” far surpasses any expectations one might have after first reading the title of the play.
“For starters, it’s not really your typical musical in that it is a farce on the American musical itself, as well as a comedic outlook on the nature of economics and politics,” said Talia Elliot, who portrays the character Hope Cladwell. “Urinetown: The Musical” offers a metaphorical world where its impoverished citizens fight for their right to use the mandatory public amenities for free. It is beyond being a mundane love story or a colorful spectacle — it is theater for the oppressed and a story that I think everyone will find value in.”
Since the characters all have a way of surprising the audience, Elliot should have a lot of material to work with.
“The characters are certainly not role models, flip-flopping between love and hate in the space of a line as morals are learned and lost and revolutions are born and killed,” added Dresch. “This is not a heavily moralizing, preaching production about the dangers of consumerism or ethical decline but one that displays exaggerated human nature at its most ridiculous and absurd.”
“Urinetown: The Musical” premieres April 14, 8 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre at UVa-Wise. Following the premiere, there will be showings on April 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. along with a matinee performance on April 17 at 2 p.m.
Tickets for the show dates are now on sale.