Midtwenties Theatre Society, a recent addition to the Vancouver theatre community, will be premiering their first original production, Above the Hospital, on Jan. 12 at the Red Gate Revue Stage at Granville Island.
Beau Han Bridge, the play’s writer and director, has always been an active member of the arts and theatre community but feels that millennials are misrepresented as a demographic. He aims to shine light on the psyche of the millennial and their place in society.
“We have all these opportunities brought by technology, yet we can’t find jobs and afford to live in our own city,” he says. “My friends and I feel like there are a lot of people in this situation, and we have a lot of experience that caters towards that.”
They then came up with the idea to produce theatre for that specific demographic.
“That is our vision for Midtwenties – shows written by and for millennials,” says Han Bridge.
Above the Hospital is set in 2017 Vancouver where Lauren, a nursing student, and her boyfriend, Cameron, an aspiring musician, live together in a cramped, expensive apartment above a hospital. It’s a scenario that is familiar to many millennials living in Vancouver.
“The show is heavily based on a night out I had, where I went out with some grad school friends at their apartment. A lot of the show is reflective on my own experience and validated by the culture of living in Vancouver. People will see it and think they can relate to it,” says Han Bridge.
The Vancouver-centric themes posed a challenge for Mira Maschmeyer, who plays Lauren. A Calgary transport, Maschmeyer is making her Vancouver performance debut.
Maschmeyer found some aspects of her role challenging.
“There are so many references made to restaurants and clothing stores in Vancouver, some of which aren’t even open. It was a challenge for me to get a sense of what these places were like,” she says.
The character of Lauren was originally an aspiring filmmaker who, starting to have doubts about what she wants to do, applies to nursing school. Above the Hospital explores the questions raised by a millennial following their dreams.
“Conflict ensues and drama arises, and the narrative captures a moment of where people are at in their mid twenties,” says Han Bridge. “What do I do with my life? What are my goals and how do I achieve them? What do I do when I’m chasing these dreams that are sort of irrational, and what is rational?”
This theme of chasing dreams is one that is woven throughout the play. When asked about her favourite line of dialogue in the show, Maschmeyer quotes a line spoken by the character of Cameron, “I refuse to give in to the sound of settling.”
“It’s very poetic and really sums up Cameron’s character,” says Maschmeyer. “This idea resonates with a lot of millennials right now as we’ve all been encouraged to follow our dreams and not settle for the norm. I really like that idea, it’s almost like a battle cry. To refuse to settle and not fall into the safety net of settling.”
Fostering natural theatre
Han Bridge is looking to bring a new style of theatre to the community and has already received critical acclaim for it.
“What we’re trying to bring specifically is a new sense of ‘fluid theatre’ which I think is absent in a rational society,” says Han Bridge. “A lot of people think the best works are musicals and classical plays, where a scene happens and here is the narrative.”
Han Bridge wants to work within a contemporary setting where fluidity would allow for improvisation within the script, creating a new experience.
“Critics have mentioned that the works are very ‘organic’ and bring ‘a sense of danger’ that hasn’t been around the theatre scene for some time,” says Han Bridge.
For more information, please visit www.mtstheatre.com