Tyson Baker has previously appeared in Plan-B’s ROSE EXPOSED: DREAMERS, the Script-In-Hand Series readings of MARRY CHRISTMAS and CARAVAN (at the Parliament of the World’s Religions) and the Free Elementary School Tours of DIFFERENT=AMAZING and RUFF!.
While we were in the early readings of BOOKSMART, the term “wasted potential” was mentioned in regard to the character of Casey, whom I play in the show, specifically referencing the general attitude of the millennial generation. Wasted Potential, the idea being that millennials are Waiting Around while they could be Doing. Alex, another character in the play, responds by asking, “Did the Patriots of the American Revolution share a link on Facebook? Did they hashtag #LibertyOrDeath?“
The smell of deli food and canola oil permeate from my triple-worn jeans and work uniforms fills my fifteen-by-fifteen bedroom I rent in a duplex with my buddies from college. It leaves a dull, musky, boyish scent about the place. My room is a clutter catastrophe of messy stacks of plays, dirty laundry, fantasy novels, Dungeons & Dragons, tip money clumps, old college textbooks, month-old socks, dressers akimbo, unhung posters and portraits, and most importantly, a pillowed queen-sized mattress for the purpose of burrowing my being. My head is a big balloon full of mostly hot air and a brain swishing around in there somewhere with thoughts and dreams and fears, all swimming. The time for a bowl of marijuana could not come quick enough: the release of inhibitions and self-esteem, of linear thought and consideration toward others. It’s a cozy, hazy nest where video games and apathy are king. Even when I’m not stoned out of my mind, these things are hard to come by when all that you know is your own messy shit; and it would take an earthquake or an angel to save you from that cesspool. You see all these people around you: your friends, peers, coworkers, family who all seem to have It figured out. They look at you with incredulous eyes, demanding silently, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?” I gaze back at them with a charming smile and bloodshot eyes, trying to find the most copacetic response,” Hey! Guess what? Everybody is winging it! That’s what I’m doing! I’m . . . just kinda not very good at it . . .”
In the current rushing surge of the Present, information and news and questions and problems and inconsistencies are drug up to the surface, under close inspection from the world at large. The internet has been a great help, acting as the connection, the host of discussions and forums, and most importantly, the fired-up rants about how most everything this person does, or this country does, or this world does is wrong and we need to fix it. And most of this is true. There is a lot of injustice and cruelty and terror running rampant. It’s a scary, tentative time. Also, it’s a time of celebration. Advances in culture, technology, society, and art have hurdled our species into the future, whether we like it or not. The mustering call has been issued and we’re seeing who will step up to the plate for the new millennia.
In the meantime, I have rent to pay. I have a messy room that stinks and I need to do some laundry because my workshirts are getting gross. I have to review line notes from this play. I have to go up Little Cottonwood Canyon and spend time with my family for Thanksgiving. At some point I have to finish my degree. Theatre Arts: Emphasis in Acting & Directing. It’s a keeper. At some point I have to write this play I’ve had in my head for the past six years. At some point I have to admit to myself that I’m a thirty-year old white ex-Mormon dude living in Utah with grandiose dreams of making it in Hollywood, even though part of me despises Hollywood and what it represents.
I think my generation is very good at being super aware of itself and the state of the world and what can or can’t be done. Now ask me what I think we’ll actually Do about it. I don’t got time to worry about that shit. I have bills to pay.
Rob Tennant’s BOOKSMART receives its world premiere December 3-13, 2015 in partnership with The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists, featuring Tyson Baker, Anne Brings, Joe Crinch, April Fossen and Sarah Young, directed by Jerry Rapier. Tickets are extremely limited – a new performance has been added. Click here for details and tickets.