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Urine Comes To Town

by Archives January 22, 2008

The act of passing urine, or ‘peeing’ in layman’s terms, has been brought to the stage with the production of Urinetown: The Musical by McGill University’s community theatre, the Arts Underground Theatre Society. Greg Kotis who, while traveling in Europe as a student on a budget, came up with the idea for Urinetown when he encountered a pay-per-use toilet originally wrote the musical.
Urinetown is a satirical comedy musical in which a 20-year drought has brought mankind’s ability to pee freely to a standstill. No longer are people able to urinate without paying a fee to the company that owns all of the public restrooms, the Urine Good Company. The world is full of harsh laws that guarantee the citizens pay to pee or be forcibly sent to the penal colony: Urinetown.
Poking fun at capitalism, socialism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, and petty small town politics, the musical rejects musical theatre convention. It parodies successful Broadway shows such as Les Misérables, Evita, Annie and West Side Story, and even satirizes its own significance. In reverse pantomime style, the unconventional plotline shatters audience expectations of a pleasant ending.
The directors of the show chose to stick to the original script and the musical score. However, there was some experimentation with the casting and the costumes. Co-producer Jessica Kostuk explained, “Our costume designer Kaleigh Briggs came up with idea of dressing the cast in costumes from the 1930s, to give the musical a more classical look. I think it is a very clever and different idea, especially as I really like the fashion from the thirties.” Producer Kara Fletcher explains the deviation from the original play in terms of the cast of the musical. “We have made all the characters larger than life. They all have exaggerated personalities. It is like a circus onstage.”
The musical runs from Jan. 23 – 26 and starts at 8:00 p.m. in the Moyse hall in the McGill University Arts Building. Tickets are available from the website www.mcgillpee.com and SNAX in the Leacock building, at $10 for students and children and $12 for adults.

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