Presented by Off-Off-Broadway’s OBIE-winning company The Tank in association with Sami Pyne as part of Post Theatrical’s pandemic-time programming, Capricorn 29, which had its virtual premiere on May 20, has been extended by popular demand through Wednesday, June 16. Watch it, and you’ll see why. The fast-paced high-energy show fully captures the spirit and preoccupations of the digitally obsessed Millennial generation with hilarious self-aware humor and self-induced angst in a spot-on micro-movie musical fantasy by emerging artists Alex Hare and Julia Izumi.
Directed by Hare, the thoroughly engaging team-driven original combines a virtual play with rapid-fire segments of digital graphics (by Victoria Ungvarsky), animation (by Aiden Berglund), and music (songs by Laura Galindo, Daniel and Patrick Lazour, STOMPCAT, and Storm Thomas), in a colorful post-modern examination of “the tyranny of age-based milestones.” So if you thought the message of “Don’t trust anyone over 30” went out with the Sixties, it’s very much alive with one “Very Online millennial,” as the countdown to her big birthday triggers an existentialist crisis, paranoia, and a trip down a “hallucinatory YouTube wormhole.”
Referencing the 1976 sci-fi film Logan’s Run (set in a future dystopian society in which everyone is exterminated at the age of 30) and the 1978 thriller Capricorn One (imagining a government conspiracy that dupes the population into believing in a faked Mars landing), the story follows The User surfing the web, trolling around on YouTube, and Googling advice about everything from sex and dating to anti-aging skin creams to how unsuccessful 30-year-olds can escape being taken out by the government, in a secret message about a sanctuary from which no one has returned.
Montages of clips from classic shows, a compilation of cute puppy videos, tips from Influencers, and DIY birthday cards appear in a whirlwind succession that replicates the short attention span and non-stop clicks of our digital-age youth. It’s all there – the headphones, mics, and light rings for self-made video streams, the “y’all” and “gurl” that permeate contemporary speech, and the total lack of self-edit as every thought, feeling, and reaction is posted on the internet.
Along with all the eye-popping visuals, mood-defining music, and satirical laughs are some serious thought-provoking themes about the capitalist monetization of the web, the trouble with a system that has everyone competing for Likes, and the inability to detach from having your entire life and self-worth tied up in it.
Terrific performances by a completely natural Millennial cast (led by the outstanding Lindsey Steinert, Kalyne Coleman, and Brendan George, and featuring Adrianna Aguilar, Amanda Centeno, Octavia Chavez-Richmond, Yonatan Gebeyehu, Michael Alan Johnson, Jenny Nguyen Nelson, Elyse Steingold, and Adam Weppler) are supported by the sensational creative team of Megumi Katayama (sound), Robin Buyer (audio mixing and mastering), April M. Hickman (costume consultant), Chun Fung Kevin Chiu (cinematography), and Lexy Ho-Tai (card design), with editing by Alex Hare and Lowell Thomas. The innovative work of these first-rate talents is funny, insightful, and masterful; I can’t recommend it highly enough and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Running Time: Approximately 55 minutes.
Capricorn 29, from The Tank and Post Theatrical, plays through 9 pm, Wednesday, June 16. Tickets are available online, on a pay-what-you-can scale ranging from $10-100. Audience members may start streaming the show on demand at any time, and will have access to finish watching it for 48 hours.