Boomerangst by George Johnson
First a feature film, now a script for the stage, don't miss award-winning Boomerangst!
In this eco-comedy, late-blooming boomer JAMES BROWN (not that one!) impulsively quits his job as a used car salesman. After his wife CYNTHIA throws him out for again failing to consult and refusing to sell a dirt ranch he has inherited, he takes a quirky route to win back her love. He forms a retirement commune to impress her by returning to their youthful ideals of living off the land in peace, love, and general groovy-ness.
At his high school 40th reunion he tries to enlist former classmates. When they scoff, he impulsively offers them joint ownership in the remote Toad Valley Ranch. To his surprise, several former friends embrace the idea, but not for idealistic reasons. Unbeknownst to him, they all have suffered setbacks. Once the friends arrive, they realize why James has been so generous, since the place is a dump. As they till the soil of their relationships, secrets surface, including that they all played in a band called Intensive Care, which disbanded when the star player left for rock fame. ISOBEL had loved the exotic guitarist and blames DAVE the drummer for driving him out. Earth mother singer TASIA pursues feckless REX, the psychedelic keyboard player whom she left in Grade 11 when she abruptly moved.
As tensions mount, they face several crises: a mining exec, MARA TRAVESTA arrives with a 30-day offer from Comet Aggregates Corps Kinborne (C.A.C.K.) to purchase the Thwacker place. James reacts with hostility and denial. A flash flood washes away their market garden and brings deafening toads, which they try to eradicate; an electrical storm causes a power outage; during the storm a mysterious stranger arrives at night and finds refuge in Rex's bed, unbeknownst to him. She is KISS, Tasia’s last child of many, an environmentalist who has lost her job and seeks a loan from her mother.
Travesta returns, increasing the offer – and the threat. James despairs, but then convinces the others to raise money to fight with a concert featuring Intensive Care. Kiss and Rex write a song called Climate Crisis together. Moved by their perfect harmonizing, Tasia reveals that Kiss is her love child with Rex, conceived in a late fling at a Shambala event. Rex is stunned, but embraces his newfound daughter. Travesta then informs them that someone has agreed to sell. They suspect former marketer Dave, who finally admits to knowing that Comet had designs on the property, but claims he is not the traitor. To prove himself, he leaps onto the bucket of the first CAT poised at the property boundary. He falls and is nearly buried.
Shocked, Tasia reveals that she and Rex approached Travesta, believing that the commune would fail and that they could use the money to finally support Kiss. Kiss refuses the offer and insists they fight the mine. James is distracted by the toads returning and heads for the library. James determines to go ahead with the Intensive Care concert. During a solo in his song, No Mine Land, he notices his wife Cynthia in the audience. After she hears the concert and sees James's leadership, she sticks around, but the money raised will not be enough. Travesta informs them that their land will be expropriated. James reveals that the Environmental Protection Agency will protect Toad Valley since it is the only habitat of the Great Basin Spadefoot Toad. The invaders have become their saviours. The communards celebrate in a ceremony where Rex and Tasia commit to shacking up together and James renews vows with his wife.
Boomerangst is “an extraordinary original comedy.” - Stephen P. Dunn, career Assistant Director on excellent films, including The Big Chill, Chocolat, Book Club, The Shipping News, and Superman Returns.
Produced by Chimera Theatre Company, Kamloops BC, June 2023
Genre: Comedy, Play with Music
Run time: 120 minutes
Suitable for students 14+
Cast size: 8 actors
Male roles: 3
Female roles: 5
Casting note: 6 characters are in their late 40s to 60s; the other 2 (females) are late 20s-30s. Ideally, 4 of the older actors and 1 of the younger ones should be able to play the original rock music (4 songs, including "Not Quite a Hippy" and "Climate Crisis", both on Spotify and other platforms under the band name, Intensive Care); alternatively, the recorded songs can be used.
Winner, Best TV Script in the Wiki Screenplay Contest, USA. Feedback included, “Given the strength and originality of the concept, as well as the wholesome quality of the script as a whole, the reader doesn’t doubt that a show with this script would be able to garner a loyal audience."
See the filmed version of the play here!