Environmentalists and comedy enthusiasts take note – there’s a new play in Kamloops tackling environmental degradation and regrets from the baby boomer generation’s failure to tackle climate change.
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) professor George Johnson is debuting his play, Boomerangst, at the Pavilion Theatre from June 8 to 17. The all-ages play focuses on a baby boomer who creates a commune of retirees and former band members.
In the play, the characters attempt to return to their youthful ideals and “get back to the land,” facing interpersonal struggles, environmental difficulty and eventually unifying against a multinational mining company.
“[The main character, James Brown,] tries to convince some of the others at the reunion to join him to form a kind of retirement commune to get back to the land and live out their youthful ideals because they were all sort of wanting to go green back in the day in the 70s,” Johnson said.
Johnson is the chair of the english and modern languages department at TRU and says the inspiration for Boomerangst started a decade ago after reading about a retirement community for performers in Vancouver.
“I read a newspaper, and I thought, ‘well, that sounds pretty interesting.’ How would people who are used to being center stage get along together in retirement?”
He’s been working on writing the script ever since, and originally developed it as a feature screenplay and a TV pilot before deciding to produce a Kamloops-based play.
“I thought a stage play would be more immediate and might have a positive impact on Kamloops,” he explained.
The piece was finished before the COVID-19 pandemic, and he’s waited to open the curtains since then.
“I’m really glad that it’s finally to the stage after all this time, [which] has given me time to revise it and polish it.”
Johnson gained feedback from the director, Christopher Weddell, and the actors participating in the production.
“It’s been a communal experience, and the whole thing is about a commune…in the environment, we all have to work together,” Johnson said.
The production team recently released a music video as well, featuring a song called “Climate Crisis,” set in Deadman Valley amongst a wild-fire scorched backdrop.
Tickets for Boomerangst can be purchased online through Kamloops Live! Box Office or at the door.
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