Reality checks don't pay the rent in Delinquent Theatre's STATIONARY
That’s a realization shared by the overeducated, underemployed characters in STATIONARY, Delinquent Theatre’s new musical premiering at the Neanderthal Arts Festival. The piece has been expanded from the short play Parked, performed at last summer’s Bridge Mix.
Subtitled a recession-era musical, the play focuses on a group of recent university graduates fighting for a too-thin slice of the corporate pie. Playwright Christine Quintana, who also performs in the show, says it was inspired by being part of “a generation of young people with university degrees and a staggering amount of student-loan debt and personal debt, and a terrible job market”. To Quintana and her peers, the future looks bleak: “Our parents may have owned property, but we never will,” she says, on the phone from her box-office job.
The play also shows its characters confronting the gap between dreams and reality. “I was saying at rehearsal last night, ‘This is like a hipster Death of a Salesman,’” Quintana notes. “But how odd it is that it’s young people feeling that despair.” At least Willy Loman got to buy a house and raise his kids before his disillusionment destroyed him.
But don’t get the impression that STATIONARY is a downer. There’s plenty of comedy and wit in Quintana’s script, like the description of Vancouver as a “yoga- and sushi-swilling succubus of a city”.
And then there’s Mishelle Cuttler’s music, which covers a broad stylistic range, “from rap music to 1920s ragtime to some real indie rock”, Quintana promises. “I hope that it [the play] inspires people to be bolder and to seek to unite their dream life with their real life,” she says.