Hip Shot: ‘May 39th/40th’
The Bodega at The Trading Post
Saturday, July 18 at 4 pm
Sunday, July 19 at 6:30 pm
Friday, July 24 at 11 pm
They say: "MAY 39th takes a voyeuristic ride through the morning after Sam and Louisa's first date. In MAY 40th, Jim takes creative steps to heal Roya's blindness. It's 3009 AD: dating still blows chunks, and playing doctor is way more creepy."
Aaron's take: Okay, first of all, I'm pretty sure that description is just plain wrong. Unless I completely misinterpreted everything I saw (and there's not much room for interpretation), Jim's the one with the eye problems (though not blindness), and Roya's the doctor who's fed up with his whining. But no matter. Let's get to the crux of it.
Every story, play, song, or artwork must on some level answer the question, "Why do we care?" And sometimes "Because it takes place in the future" just isn't a good enough answer. That Louisa needs to kick Sam out so that she can "log on" rather than "go to work" doesn't change the fact that we've heard this story a thousand times before, and it generally doesn't interest us unless we're the ones in bed.
It's sort of like Brave New World with all the cool stuff taken out. Instead of soma, they have coffee pills. Instead of an alpha-epsilon caste system, they have clones who are known to engage in the occasional pillow fight. And instead of a struggle to break free from the system, they have a "dude's into chick who's not into dude" trope played out in two unrelated vignettes.
I don't mean to imply that the show doesn't have some legitimate strengths, nor do I doubt that the cast and crew could have put on an impressive performance had the script given them a bit more to work with. But if you like your romances feisty and your dystopias, well, dystopian, you'll likely find May 39th/40th to be little more than — to borrow Sam's favorite adjective — cute.
See it if: You want to know how your twelfth-generation clone will woo members of the opposite sex. (Hint: oranges will evidently be instrumental.)
Skip it if: A future that looks like it was created with a "find/replace" tool doesn't appeal to you.