The ‘Freaks’ shall inherit the earth

A new group of Freaks are taking over the Earth – you might have heard of them (cue “The Twilight Zone” theme song).

They’re narcissistic, lazy and – gasp! – terrifyingly self-entitled, according to some. They’re twenty-something, having been born between the early 1980s and 2000s. They’re called millennials, Generation Y – or the “Me” generation, as Time Magazine so eloquently put it in an article last year.

So what happens when a couple of Gen-Y theater geeks in New York City take offense to such a condescending stereotype?

They respond with theatrical art, of course.

“So many older playwrights are capitalizing on writing plays about our generation – and they’re getting it wrong,” said Kyle Wilson, 22.

“Many of these plays are about young people sitting around getting drunk and stoned – like this real picture of laziness. And I think it’s fair to say that that’s a perception older generations have of us,” he added.

Wilson is a native of South Williamsport who loves to direct. Before making the “exciting and incredibly terrifying” move to New York City, he worked with local acting groups like the Community Theatre League and The Actors Group. He recently graduated from the school of drama at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and while there Wilson met best friend and fellow millennial Samuel French, 22, a native of Saint Petersburg, Florida.

The two agree that more art needs to be written, performed and created … in defense of their generation. They believe in order to do that in a both “poetic and truthful” way, it actually needs to be created by the generation it speaks of, and not by those from an older generation who possess a preconceived condescending vision.

“There’s a huge lack of material about my generation that’s actually BY my generation,” French said. ” … and that’s resulting in a lot of the material being patronizing, reductive, simplistic or just off the mark.”

In an attempt to set the record straight, Wilson as the director, and French as the playwright, along with other theater cronies from Carnegie Mellon, have set out to make a play about millennials, by millennals, and they’re calling it “Freaks: A Legend About Growing Up.”

” ‘Freaks’ is important because it’s trying to actually capture some voices of a generation that is coming into maturity, that is ready to be accountable for itself – that is ready to defend itself,” French said.

But naturally, these Freaky millennals with idealistic dreams have empty pockets, and are in need of funding to produce their original play, which they plan to debut at FringeNYC, a massive multi-arts festival that takes place over the course of two weeks in August at more than 20 downtown theaters around the Manhattan area.

At Fringe, they hope to get their name out there, as several fairly major productions have done before them.

To help reach their goal of nearly $6,000, which will go toward a set, costumes and other equipment, they are utilizing, an international crowdfunding site that many artists have been drawn to as of late to help fund various projects and campaigns.

At this point, they’ve reached about half of their goal.

“We’re asking for support in funding the production, because self-producing is the only way work like this is going to be seen in the theater right now. And it really is a big void in the artistic conversation that needs to be filled,” French said.

As the writer of the play and someone very interested in language, French hopes to help fill that void, through what Wilson says are “a series of seemingly hackneyed statements, one-liners, bad jokes and poetry.”

“But when you really read it (“Freaks: A Legend About Growing up”), you find the glue between the lines, and then it just becomes a matter of justifying what these characters say the things they do,” Wilson said.

The “Freaks” are four people in their early 20s, meeting up on a summer night in Florida. Three of them are old friends who haven’t seen each other since they went their separate ways after high school graduation. Though it’s unclear why they’ve decided to meet up after so much time, seeing each other sets a lot of things in motion, causing “almost a catalyst for major changes in these kids’ worlds.”

French, whom Wilson describes as being “really good at mixing the mundane with the magical,” has written a play where, with the “stars of magic and irresponsibility perfectly aligned, four friends have gathered to summon a hurricane, to rekindle lost love – and to see if wormholes exist.”

These twenty-somethings are on a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of the imagination. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind.

“The Twilight Zone’s” Rod Serling would be proud of these Freaks.