When the building’s cool interior is a haven, a group of seven-year-olds act like adorable bunnies and a fourteen-year-old belts out “It’s a Privilege to Pee”,it has to be Urinetown in a summer children’s theater program. All those satirized themes about the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, corporate greed and politics are chiseled down by kids to jokes about a pay toilet, decorating with toilet paper and empty paper rolls painted with slogans about pee and keeping the earth healthy.
The whole concept of a worldwide drought lasting two decades is even less funny in 2018 than when the play was first produced in 2001. By 2030, when the youngest of last night’s performers will be starting college, the United Nations predicts the world will only have 60% of the water it needs. With one in every ten United States watersheds already stressed, eleven cities in the United States may face the possibility of water scarcity by mid-century.
We can’t blame the situation on global warming alone. Populations are expanding dramatically which drives the demand for water. Regions in the United States have been fighting for years over access to water sources like the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River or the Colorado River watersheds. Manufacturers want unlimited and cheap water setting jobs today against conservation. Farmers don’t want their fertilizing and animal feeding processes limited. Other interests fight for irrigation to grow grass, flowers, home vegetable gardens. Water sports enthusiasts don’t want restrictions on swimming pools or boating.
There’s no easy answer to matching endless demand for a limited natural resource. There’s no competent governing body watching out for the future beyond their elected terms.
Officer Lockstock’s closing monologue predicts that access to remaining water without carefully thought out restrictions brought only doom to the town when the fragile river became diminished and polluted. I hope Mark Hollmann’s play has the storyline wrong.