GCSU spring musical presents dystopian world devoid of music in “We Will Rock You”

GCSU spring musical presents dystopian world devoid of music in “We Will Rock You”

Prepare to have your world shaken by Georgia College & State University’s spring musical, “We Will Rock You.” It follows a group of revolutionaries in a dystopian world devoid of music who seek to free their apocalyptic society with hits by the British rock band, Queen.

The production will be in Russell Auditorium Feb. 28 through March 3.

“This play takes place 300 years in the future,” said director and associate professor of theatre, Amy Pinney. “So, humanity has changed. There is a dictatorship. There is a tyrant. Her name is Killer Queen. She started out on a video game, an adult video game, then downloads herself into her programmer, so she's half pixelated and half human—and evil.”

“She banned live music, so the only music allowed is electronically and computer-generated,” Pinney said. “There is power when people come together to create, so that has been banned.”

In 2002, the first production of “We Will Rock You” opened in London’s West End, becoming the longest-running musical at Dominion Theatre at that time. By December 2022, the play had been seen by 20 million people in 28 countries. It returned to the West End last August at the London Coliseum.

It’s an adventure but also a love story, about misfits and heroes. And those who yearn to belong.

For all its dystopian aspects, Pinney said the play is also filled with warmth and optimism. It’ll leave audiences hopeful for the future.

There’s a hippie librarian, tough feminist, yuppies (the bad guys), robocops, “Ga Ga kids” who conform and the evil queen. Citizens in this future are punished inside (real) laser cages.

A group of Bohemians (the good guys) rebel against the evil empire where free thought and choice are not allowed. Their story is based on a book by Ben Elton, a comedian and playwright, and told through songs like “We are the Champions” by Queen.

Other great Queen hits include: “I Want to Break Free,” “Somebody to Love,” “Killer Queen,” “Under Pressure,” “It’s a Kind of Magic,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and, of course, “We Will Rock You.”

Everyone dresses the same, thinks the same, acts the same.

But some modern twists are added in. So, this future is also familiar. People are too busy online to interact, and some wear Virtual Reality (VR) goggles.

It’s very much a ‘resistance’ story like Star Wars or the Hunger Games, Pinney said. The bohemians are in hiding, searching for ‘the dreamer’ who will restore rock music.

This turns out to be Galileo, the lead role played by senior theatre and philosophy major Bella Eclavea of Augusta, Georgia. A singer and songwriter who plays the guitar and ukulele, Eclavea grew up listening to songs of the 60s and 70s with her dad.

Even though the play takes place 300 years from now, Eclavea said it’s a lot like today’s world.

“We don’t have a dictator,” Eclavea said, “but I’ve already seen videos of people walking down the street wearing VR goggles.”

“I’ve been looking at the history of rock-n-roll. It was a time on fire, and people were so connected,” she said. “If there’s anything I want people to walk away with, it’s this: ‘Think about where we’re at and how much we value each other.’”

Students of all majors make up the 15-actor cast. About 50 students work behind the scenes in make-up, costume and set design. Two students did the choreography, and students are also in charge of lighting and sound. 

The set is a massive mix of shipping containers and ladders, where future populations live and work. There’ll be a motorcycle on stage and a five-member, live rock band playing 8 feet in the air—directed by Raymond Darius Jackson, minister of music at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Warner Robins.

Every musical at Georgia College takes about a year from conception to production. Crews started rehearsing in December, then three hours every night starting in early January. Each production crew becomes like family, Pinney said.

“The entire thing has been thrilling,” she said. “People are going to be amazed at what these students can do. I'm incredibly proud of the community they've built, their ability to inhabit the world of the play and to exemplify what I think is most important: That when people come together to create, they're powerful.”

The PG-13 production of “We Will Rock You” will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, to Saturday, March 2, and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 3, in Russell Auditorium. Tickets are $15 for general admission, senior citizens and GCSU faculty and staff; $10 for non-GCSU students; and $5 for GCSU students.

Updated: 2024-02-22
Cindy O'Donnell
(478) 445-8668
Theatre & Dance, Department of