Music and Lyrics by Benjamin Velez
Book by Katie Hathaway
A brief animated video of an 8-bit style arcade game establishes our premise: the sisyphean task of trying to leave home but finding yourself back there after being crippled by failed jobs and student debt. How many times can you survive “Game Over?”: https://vimeo.com/226676809 (password: blastaway)
What does it mean to be turning 30 and living with your parents? How can you face the future when you’re buried in student debt, can’t find a steady job, or afford health insurance? How do you reconcile your identity when the people in your town are homophobic assholes and you’re the only immigrant within a 20 mile radius?
Starblasters is about a generation struggling to answer all of these questions, a generation raised to believe in opportunity and possibility only to come of age in a post-recession America where financial security has never been less certain and the dreams they had as kids are beyond reach. Our characters have spent the ten years since high school hiding behind the nostalgic specter of their youths by working at the local theme park where nightly escapades atop the ferris wheel help their struggles fade into the background.
But with the park’s closure looming, these five friends must face those struggles head on, or face the prospect of a life dependent on their parents, chained to a dead-end job, losing their ability to dream.
PREVIEW OF SONGS
Lights up on the employees of a space age amusement park in Nowhere, New Hampshire. Sure, the park is a little worse for wear, sure said employees have been working here since high school, sure they have hangovers, but COME ON. What is better than working at an AMUSEMENT PARK. These things are built JUST FOR FUN TIMES AND NOTHING ELSE AT ALL and summer has finally arrived.
Neil is six years out of college and recently let go from his second job in as many years. Buried in bills and student debt with no reprieve in sight, he bites the bullet and decides to move back in with his parents in New Hampshire, just for a while.
"Prom Was A Promise"
Neil has just returned to work at the park for the first time since high school and is immediately confronted by his ten-year-old feud with his ex-concessions colleague and former best friend, Freddie. Neil and Freddie were inseparable growing up, but after Senior Prom, the two stopped speaking and haven’t spoken since. What was all the bad blood about? Listen as each shares their side of the story…
"Rig the Game"
At their fourth of July celebration, Neil and his co-workers are given the sobering news that the park will indeed be closing. They were already hanging by a thread, barely able to stay afloat even while being home, and now that thread has been cut. Neil tries to vent his frustration by shooting a basket on the nearby arcade game, but misses. He shoots again and misses. The third time he tries to shove the ball into the basket but it’s too big to fit and pops out. He screams. They all feel the injustice and it builds into a savage frenzy.
"Tearing the Tickets"
The employees get the sobering news that after yet another weak season, the park is in serious danger of closing. The news hits them hard; this is their home away from home, their happy place. Isn’t it?
Erica was raised by her Colombian father, a dreamer who moved to the states and bought a run-down theme park he could make his own. Despite her Colombian background, Erica never quite felt connected to her roots. After only a year away at school, Erica dropped out and came back early to help her dad through a rough patch at the park, a decision she is trying to rationalize to others, and herself.
"Erica Save Me"
After months of passive aggressively avoiding each other, the park’s closing pushes Freddie and Neil to a reconciliation over prom, during which Neil finally learns that all this time, Freddie has been madly in love with Erica. Pining for years from the concessions stand, but unable to tell her, Freddie admits that the best part of her day is watching Erica “save” the audience on the Starblaster ride.
With time at the park running out, Neil agrees to help Freddie get past being tongue tied around Erica and he has Freddie practice how she is going to finally confess her love.
Freddie has spent much of her life creating an “F THE WORLD” persona to combat the constant bullying she’s suffered for looking and acting different from other girls. She’s used her job working concessions as her refuge from the ugliness outside, but even here she encounters the mean girls that made high school hell. Freddie is recounting one such experience from earlier that day.
"Bridget Michelle Jessica"
Bridget is a small town girl with big dreams who believes she is destined for greatness. However, stardom has eluded her thus far, and she is convinced it must be because of her name. Here she recounts the moment of her epiphany and her life-changing decision.
"Two Suns Setting"
Freddie and Nacho are smoking a joint atop the wheel and Nacho confesses he’s sick and getting treatment for something serious. Already pretty stoned, they begin to riff on death, specifically how Nacho’s mom died before he really knew her and how he didn’t really understand what that meant when he was little. Freddie says she always understood what dying meant, but Nacho explains that first watching Star Wars was when he finally “got it.”