Hey everyone! Last night me and my team were in the last general repetition of Green Day’s rock musical “American Idiot” , the Swedish edition. For the ones who don’t really know what I am talking about, Green Day released an album back in 2004 called “American Idiot”. In 2009, the album was turned for the very first time into a sung-through stage adaptation and was run at Berkeley Repetory Theater. Later on, the show moved to Broadway, when it actually won a Grammy award for the “Best Musical show album”. The music was composed by Green Day and the lyrics were written by Billy Joe Armstrong, the lead singer and guitar player in Green Day.
Last night I experienced for the very first time this form of art called musical, and more specifically rock opera. I was completely familiar with all the songs, since American idiot has always been one of my favorite albums of all times. I still listen to it often, especially the song “Holiday”, as I can relate to it the most.
The musical story, that is expanded from the concept album, focuses on three dissatisfied young men, who live in the suburbs, experiencing this lifestyle and the parental restrictions, while two of them decide to move to the big city and the third of them stays back to work out his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend. Experiencing the big city, joining the American army, turning to drugs and growing up finding out parts of yourself that you actually dislike, are the main perspectives that the play was focused on.
I believe that anyone who grew up in a society where they feel like they don’t fit in, will absolutely relate to this album and play. You can easily sense the anger, the frustration and the furiousness of the younger generations. How hard it might be to keep up and do the “right thing”, when you actually don’t really understand and know why.
“Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me. Until then, I walk alone”.
Considering how cynical reality can be for someone with this background, you could easily say that believing in equality, in love, in compassion, in justice, is like daydreaming. The feeling that you want so much more in life and the feeling that you just don’t belong, because you don’t think or act like everyone else does. “I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies.”
In contrast to that, what actually happens in the everyday life on the 21st century in my opinion and specially at the “big city life” is listening all day about not what you want to do, but what “you have to do”, what you “have to learn” what “ you have to say”, how you “have to act” and what “you have to believe” or not. People today are unconsciously communicating lies about how hard your life is going to be once you grow up and not choose to do what most people do.
I believe that the play tried to show in a very realistic and strong way what reality looks like nowadays, shown from three young peoples’ perspective. Seeing not only what you choose to see, but the whole thing. The ugliness, the pain, the drug abuse, the sexual abuse, the lost loves, the rasism, the hypocrisy, the shallowness. “Hear the dogs howling out of key to a hymn called faith and misery.” And also the devastation that someone might feel when they choose to be different. “When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul.” “Something inside this heart has died”. When you are of a rebellious spirit and it has been burning inside of you your whole life but never really finds any impact in reality. When you reach a point that you almost give up. Losing your faith and choose a totally different path than the one you have been dreaming of. When you have no friends and no place to go and there are days that it is even hard to recognize your own self. Days when you think you are trying to do the “right” thing but you end up hollow and alone. “As my memory rests, but never forgets what I lost, wake me up when September ends.” “In a land of make believe, that don’t believe in me”. Different aspects in life that the play manages to approach in a remarkable way.
Green Day’s music in general has always had strong political messages about justice, equality and peace. This play brings to life all of these powerful lyrics, combined with great choreography, urban details and beautiful, high technology graphics as a background, with some of the most popular Green Day’s album covers, including the heart grenade from the American Idiot album.
In the three main roles :
Johnny : Viktor Norén
Tunny : Alexander Lycke
Will : Petter Snive
I think that all in all, for me, the strongest message that the play tries to spread is to stand for what you believe. If this is your loved one, if this is your country, if this is your life, fight for it, and never give up, no matter what the circumstances are or going to be.
“It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right, I hope you had the time of your life.”