The year: 2070. The rebels struggle to maintain their freedom in Mount Angel, Oregon as they withstand the malicious dictatorship of the evil Kubla Kahn and his minions, the Censoids. But with depleting resources and low numbers of troops, will they prevail?
This science fiction tale set the stage Tuesday night in the opening of "The Nitnoid Wars, Part 3: The Final Battle" at the in Half Moon Bay.
Though set sixty years in the future, many of the players of the production have barely celebrated their first decade of existence.
“I wanted to write for kids but not write down to kids,” said Gail Erwin, writer and director of "The Nitnoid Wars."
The 14 young actors were part of Summer Drama Day Camp, a month-long workshop in which they acted, danced and constructed the set to the last chapter of the three-part series that has spanned three years.
“When we put the set together Monday morning they were ecstatic,” Erwin said.
The play follows the Grungerats and the rebels in their defeat of the Censoids and their leader, Kubla, who controls his followers through injections of nanobots.
The rebels are played by Liam Dolan, Michael O’Quigley, Mia O’Brien and Darcy Negrete. The Grungerats are played by Cecily Bochannek, Bodhi Godwin, Sami Benitez, Laurel Mitton, Max Sigler and Beau Brown.
Ned Sigler, the young actor who portrayed Kubla, fought for unstoppable power and the ability to control the entire world. Natalie O’Quigley, Casey Co and Madeleinie Beckner, the Censoids, followed him unquestioningly through all his diabolic plans.
Co, who played Lieutenant Joan, had a biting anger in her devotion and fear for Kubla that can only be found by those in positions of middle management, but after the performance reverted back to her offstage welcoming self.
“I want to try and convince people to join next year,” said 11-year-old Co. “The more the merrier.”
The play took on complex themes such as liberty, dictatorship, the right to a fair trial, military violence and the right to vote.
“I was thinking that the kids don’t really know what a dictatorship means,” Erwin said. “I just wanted them to know what that’s like.”
The kids of the drama camp were able to learn what kind of events can lead to a dictatorship but also that each person in this battle has their own story, she said.
Each individual character gives a small monologue to the audience about their backgrounds. Viewers will come to find that the evil Kubla has his own secrets that are oddly relatable.
Erwin also commented on the use of the nanabots as a symbol for new technology that can often be misused.
“We’re forever creating new things,” she said. “But maybe just because it’s new and glamorous doesn’t mean it doesn’t have consequences.”
Though children play the characters, Erwin said, many of the themes are directed toward adults.
The audience gave a roaring applause to the company during their final bows.
“I think they did an amazing job in such a short amount of time,” said Irma Mitton, mother of cast member Laurel Mitton. “There were a lot of great lessons.”
Though there is implied violence in the play, there is an overall message of peace and respect for one’s adversaries.
“The line that stuck with me the most was ‘there are many words for peace,’” Mitton said.
The production continues with shows on Wednesday, July 27 and Thursday, July 28 at the Coastal Repertory Theater at 7 p.m.