A dystopian musical based on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? It’s happening.
According to Metro, the WWE legend-turned-Hollywood action star has inspired a new stage production called The People’s Rock, which is set to debut in the U.K. next week. The story takes place in 2050 and follows an English teen living in the oppressive United States. At this time, the country is ruled by a tyrant named Emperor Trumpus, who has outlawed TV, the internet, religion, and democracy. Though the majority of the population can no longer remember the past, the musical’s protagonist becomes obsessed with the legend of The Rock, who is portrayed as a “fantasy/religious role model hybrid.”
The musical was created by the all-women writing group Nevertheless, She. The People’s Rock producer, Emma Shaw, spoke to Metro about the themes of the project and how it came to be.
“It came about as all the best ideas do when we were taking the piss out of one of our friends. She is obsessed with Dwayne Johnson, and had alarm clocks and cardboard cut-outs of him,” Shaw said. “We were making comments about it, and someone mentioned that this could be a good idea for a play, and it developed from there.”
She goes on to explain that the musical is all live-action except for Johnson, who is portrayed as a puppet. Shaw said the team decided to use a puppeteer because it was difficult to find an actor who could portray Johnson accurately.
“The eyebrow alone is one hell of an acting job. In the world that we’ve created, it’s not the real Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, it’s the teenage fantasy of him. In the script, we call him ‘The Fairy RockMother.’ He appears when she needs him,” she explained. “The premise is that Dwayne Johnson has been turned into a cult figure like in Stalinist Russia, and is still the People’s Champion, but he’s also keeping them in line and doing time checks. When he suddenly disappears overnight, everyone pretends that he was never there and it becomes a post-truth fake news event. Our main character won’t accept it, and she doesn’t understand why everyone is asking her to be quiet.”
Shaw said the musical tackles weighty issues, like Donald Trump’s messages about women; however, the writing group wanted to present the story in an entertaining and lighthearted way.
“It’s a colourful night out, we want to talk a bit about what’s going in the world but what we didn’t want to do is depress anybody, or be heavy-handed. It’s very subtle,” she said.
The People’s Rock will premiere Wednesday at the Network Theatre in London. You can learn more about the musical here.