Next up in the Theatre Wire subscription series is Generation Post Script, a dystopian look at life on space stations after we’ve fucked up the planet—not that it’s completely dark. Playwright and Director Mily Mumford tells us how she researched radiation’s effect on the body and how pandemics work, alongside watching The Breakfast Club as research for the show, which runs April 11-16 at Studio 1398 on Granville Island.
Theatre Wire: Tell us about your script. What’s the gist of the story?
Mily Mumford: It’s The Breakfast Club in space. It is two generations into the future. Earth is uninhabitable. A subsection of the population survives in space stations in orbit around our planet, a “time-capsule” of mostly very privileged Americans. A misfit group of the “post script” generation—the first to be born in space—bond over their shared anxieties and a desire to reconcile with what happened to the rest of humanity. It aims to shed light on the dynamics of oppression in our current society, while providing a futurist view of what climate change and a divided Western World could produce. Also there are spaceships, explosions, and a sassy social media robot called Facebot.
What inspired you to write this show?
This show’s inspiration started from a short, two person play that I wrote for Theatre Skam in 2011 (which has since been done by the Firehall and Shift Theatre) called Fall-Out Picnic about two young people who live in space stations and have never experienced Earth, coming down to have a picnic on the surface. I was so fascinated by the characters and the world that I started creating more and more ideas until I had the outline of a full length play.
Is the story based in a true event?
Yes and no—it is true “science fiction” in that it is very much extrapolating on current events and what might happen in the future based on current events. For example what might happen if climate change remains unchecked, and leaders that make up the “alt-right” who rely on “alternative-facts” stay in power? It is interesting actually, how previous drafts of the script speculated about a future with events like Brexit and Trump becoming president, and I had to change a lot of the script right before production to match actual events. It is a little terrifying when you have to edit your dystopic sci-fi play to match what is actually happening in the world.
Did you conduct any research in order to write this play?
Most of my research was either to do with all the potential ways the apocalypse might happen, or the character group dynamics style of ‘80s and ‘90s teen movies and TV. A lot of the articles I read were based in medical sciences and epidemiology (e.g. what does the body do when exposed to radiation? How feasible is a pandemic that sweeps the globe as bacterial resistance and rising temperatures continue on their upward trends?). But I also just rewatched The Breakfast Club, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Alien a lot.
What can audiences expect from a performance?
The show has a lot of surprises that I don’t want to fully give away, but there is everything in this show from hover-board riding androids to holographic actors to virtual reality. But at the core of all the tech tricks and fun special effects is also a lot of honesty. I tried to write and shape the show from a very honest place about my fears and anxieties about the state of the world as a 20-something. And the performers I have are so incredible and full of heart that I think it will be really stunning to watch. But I’m biased because I love my team.
What is something that people don’t know about your show that they should?
The show is funny! I think some people might see the description and think “post-apocalyptic sci-fi, ooh that sounds bleak” and yes there are very real and sometimes scary concepts explored in the show—but it is also very fun and funny.
What things do you want your performances to prompt people to think about?
Like a lot of science fiction, this show uses a dystopic future to hold a mirror up to our current society. So I hope it prompts them to think about how they can be better to the Earth and the people around them regardless of race, gender, orientation, and identity. I think the show is really about overcoming differences to feel a connection, and fierce love as a form of resistance.
Get your tickets to Generation Post Script now! The show runs April 11-16 at Studio 1398.