LEAN: The Musical in Regina pokes fun at audit culture

The musical is set in a modern day elementary school with rambunctious seven year olds who are difficult to audit.

It's set in a modern day elementary school with rambunctious seven year olds who are difficult to audit

Rehearsals are under way for LEAN: The Musical. (Trish Elliott/Submitted to CBC)

LEAN: The Musical likely sounds similar to a brewing Saskatchewan political debate, with a twist. The plot is set in a modern day elementary school, where a LEAN sensei comes to measure and audit everything, amongst a group of rambunctious seven year olds.

The names of the auditors are Detoilet and Douche, a play on the real-life auditors Deloitte & Touche. 

LEAN: The Musical will be performed in Regina March 20 to 22. (LEAN The Musical)

While the musical has a lot of associations to the Lean program the Saskatchewan government implemented in hospitals over the last few years, script writer Trish Elliott said it is meant to have a more universal theme. 

"It could be Lean, it could be any bureaucratic system that cuts down on play, and interaction, and invention, and just kind of the fun things in life," she said.

Elliott was inspired by one particular scene in the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, where an eccentric family brings their invention to a factory and chaos erupts. She wanted to update that story.

"Today's factory is sort of this audit culture we live in, where everything is sort of measured and quantified and has to be deemed efficient. And then in the end it's sort of inefficient because it sort of kills off the human spirit," she said.

One particular song in the musical is about the joy of spinning in circles. The auditor tries to measure the little girl as she spins, but of course spinning in circles is completely inefficient.

The human spirit triumphs over this very austere culture that's been brought to them.- Trish Elliott, script writer

"But it's a lot of fun, it makes you dizzy, you fall down, it's great," Elliott said.

"The bigger message is we can't lose site on the sort of, the rambunctious energy of children. Adults are always trying to contain that and shut it down, but that's what makes life worth living. And if we obsess on measuring everything and justifying and quantifying everything, you kind of lose site of what makes life worth living."

Elliott promises all the parts expected in a musical, including people falling in love and lots of music. She even let it slip that the kids come out on top.

"The human spirit triumphs over this very austere culture that's been brought to them," she said.

Rehearsals are currently underway. The musical will run March 20 to 22 at the Black Box Theatre in Regina.


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