I felt like a proud mama today because I got to see some of my old classmates from theatre school put on a stellar piece of original theatre. Initially, I was going to write that Like A Generation, written by Max Tepper, is a coming-of-age story. But then I thought about it some more, and realized that it's actually the story of those of us who came of age, looked around, and realized that adulthood isn't what we expected it to be. Targeted at the twenty-to-thirty-something demographic, Like A Generation speaks to anyone who ever grew up and realized that their goals are a lot harder to reach than they thought, or that their dreams look very different in the harsh light of reality.
Like A Generation is the story of Anna and Calvin, two young people who see their thirties fast approaching and are starting to realize that they have no idea what they want from each other or from their future. Like so many of us today, Anna and Calvin connect most genuinely when they're watching TV and bonding over a shared love of a cancelled old kid's program called "The Mr. Flowers Show"
In this abstract piece of physical theatre, Mr. Flowers and his chorus of clowns come to life onstage. Part narrator, part puppet-master, and part figure of Anna and Calvin's imaginations, Mr. Flowers is a reminder of how popular media shapes the very fabric of our culture, our relationships, and our expectations of what our lives should be.
Like A Generation successfully blends naturalistic scenes with heightened movement, poetic monologues, clown, and song. It's an interdisciplinary piece that isn't afraid to play with style, structure, and abstraction to create a truly theatrical experience. Only on the stage can you see art like this. But don't be afraid if you're someone who likes a good story. There is a strong narrative here that guides audiences through the piece and keeps the whole thing grounded throughout its avant-grade moments. Like A Generation is the perfect example of how to blend a concrete narrative with more abstract and emotional styles of story-telling.
Produced by Coyote Collective, a troupe of emerging theatre artists, Like A Generation has all the technical expertise of a long-established company. The set design by Amanda Wong was one of the best I've seen in a while. A single piece of custom furniture occupied the stage and was so efficiently and creatively used that nothing else was needed. The use of projection and lighting, designed by Aaron Bernstein and Rebecca Vandevelde respectively, set the mood and tone for the piece and filled out the rest of the scenic atmosphere.
Like I said, I'm pretty proud of my classmates. Anna and Calvin might be struggling, but these guys are living the dream we used to talk about in theatre school: they're making art, taking risks, and doing it all so very very well!
You've still got a few more chances to check out this fantastic show, more details and tickets click here.
*** All photos in this post are courtesy of Coyote Collective. ***