In a grim dystopian future that Sunnyvale Community Players (sunnyvaleplayers.org) presented at the Oct. 23 dress rehearsal of “Urinetown,” private toilets became a thing of the past. Now citizens must pay to use public bathrooms owned by a company called Urine Good Company (UGC). Law enforcement officers led away dissenters, who forever disappeared into a secret place called “Urinetown.” Channeling eclectic rhythms from other popular musicals, this engaging show, stage directed by Thomas Times, runs through Nov. 10.
“There’s a love story between Hope and Bobby, the two romantic leads,” said Kyle Dayrit, who co-produced the show with Barbara Moline. “The whole story is about the poor and their struggle. Bobby leads them. Hope is the daughter of Cladwell (Ben Hatch), who is in charge of UGC, which has a techie start-up vibe. Cladwell is the villain of the show. During the show, Hope realizes who her father is and who Bobby is. Both Bobby and Hope discover who they are in this world.”
The revolution in “Urinetown” started with good intentions. The poor were understandably angry when the fees to use UGC’s bathrooms went up. Under Bobby’s leadership came a campaign to “pee for free.”
“Bobby, at his core, cares about people,” said Steve Roma, a Santa Clara resident who played Bobby. “He desires what’s best for people, even when he doesn’t know what that is. There are two sides. There is the capitalist big business side. There is the side where everybody wants the right to do what feels natural to them, which in this story, is using the bathroom. Neither side is inherently bad, but they can be bad and turn into the same thing when taken too far. Things don’t start with evil intention. But there are things in our lives and in our reality that can end up that way.”
When the rebels took Hope hostage, they tasted power for the first time and considered killing Hope.
“Killing her would make us no better than them,” said Sally, a rebel played by Rebecca Euchler.
“We are no better than them,” retorted Becky, a fellow rebel played by Emma Blickenstaff.
Therefore “Urinetown” illustrates how the oppressed can simultaneously be the oppressor, and how one’s idea of justice isn’t necessarily just to the innocent.
“The poor people taking Hope and then realizing they have power makes them do an extreme shift,” said Jessica Ellithorpe, a Campbell resident who played Hope. “They want to ease the pain they have experienced during their entire lives and take it out on Hope and her father. Now that they have a bit of power, they are trying to assert their dominance.”