Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Peace on earth

Kellie Gutman writes:

OVERVIEW is a short documentary with near-constant views of the earth from space interspersed with comments form astronauts, philosophers and writers. The word "overview" is used to refer to the astronauts' views of the earth. It was released December 7th, 2012 and is a prelude to a film in the making, CONTINUUM.  OVERVIEW gives a strong sense of the world being one environment, and a very fragile one, that needs to be protected.

more ...

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The tide could turn with 'Ten Billion'

Stephen Emmott in Ten Billion
Wallace Heim writes:

Theatre critic Kate Abbott in today's Guardian joins Michael Billington in reporting a life-changing experience watching Ten Billion at the Royal Court.

Like the facts that Stephen Emmott presented, Abbott can recite the well-polished instructions to "help us out of this hole":

"Never buying a car, iPod, or cotton T-shirt again … stopping our addiction to fossil fuels, starting a mass-desalination programme, building green energy power points on every strip of land, harnessing every scrap of wind, and every turn of the tide …"

But one change is missing. What about demanding that theatre itself changes? What about demanding that mainstream theatre no longer turns away from the compelling emotional, moral and intellectual questions of how humans can continue to live in a time of climate instability? Theatre is more than science, more than facts, more than an instruction manual. What about demanding that theatre takes on its full life-changing role, somewhere between fiction and fact, and becomes the place where audiences wrestle with their future?

See 'Ten Billion' from another side.
more ...

Friday, 7 December 2012

'Ten Billion' from another side

Wallace Heim writes:

Michael Billington, in his nomination of Ten Billion as the best theatre event of 2012, claims that all the people he knows who saw the production found it life-changing. From my unscientific poll of the dozen people I know who saw the production, including myself, it’s possible we were in a different theatre. The lecture was well-crafted, the production tight, but the event was neither moving, informative or motivating. It was ‘old news’, a ‘first-year introductory lecture’, ‘Al Gore without the cherry picker’.

Billington’s lauding of the production is encouraging. That he, and others, were deeply affected is even more so, although one wonders what he has avoided reading or seeing for the past 20 years if the information presented was shocking. But Billington finds that it is not merely the accumulation of statistics, but the presence - the performance - of Stephen Emmott, the verifiable scientist, the speaker with a creditable reputation outside the theatre, that gave the production its urgency.

For this audience, the fluid realm of belief and disbelief that makes theatre work had to break down for the shock of climate instability to be heard. At the same time, the very theatrical occasion of sitting in that darkened room redolent of emotions of past productions, listening to another human speak, heightened any effect.

Asking again of those who found the production lacking, I found each person had, in their experience outside the theatre, at least one, if not many moments when the numbers add up, when the terror hits, when someone trusted speaks about a future irreconcilable with what one could bear. These events can be motivating and if Ten Billion provided that for some, then theatre’s role as educator has been met.

But if you’ve already had that experience, theatre is where you want to go to understand it, and a collocation of facts will not do that. This is a far more confused territory, requiring human imagination and many avenues of intelligence, deliberation, conflict and consent. It requires doing something like the processes of science, itself – its questioning and cross-questioning, experimentation, doubt and informed agreement.

Theatre may not be the place to present firm courses of action; Emmott’s advice to get a gun falls especially short. Conventional forms of theatre may, or may not, be adequate to the combination of reality and fiction that understanding climate change demands. But theatre, or something like it, continues to be a place where collectively, humans find a way through. There will continue to be many kinds of productions for many kinds of audiences. The hunger for a theatre by the audience that gets the facts but wants more continues to be strong. 
more ...

Thursday, 6 December 2012

'Ten Billion' changes Billington

Stephen Emmott in Ten Billion
Wallace Heim writes:

Michael Billington in today's Guardian nominates Ten Billion as the 'most momentous theatrical performance' of 2012. The show was a lecture by Stephen Emmott, at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, on the consequences of human overpopulation and climate change.

Billington writes:

'I came out shaking with fear, but also moved by theatre's capacity to confront the emergency facing our planet.

'This was theatre doing what it does best: confronting us with unpalatable facts about our very existence. This doesn't mean that there is no room for invented stories or that King Lear and The Lion King have suddenly become redundant. But Ten Billion, directed by Katie Mitchell, shocked us into a new awareness of the future, and even the existing present, with ecosystems being destroyed, the atmosphere polluted, temperatures rising and a billion people facing water shortages.

'I don't know a single person who saw it who didn't feel it was a life-changing experience. If enough people, especially those in positions of power, could see Emmott's lecture, it might, just might, help to save our planet from destruction'.
more ...

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Turkey limerick results

Kellie Gutman writes:

Although my limerick did not win an iPad at the Greengrok blog of Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, it did garner second runner-up.  You can read the results here.

See There once was a turkey
Turkey limerick: melting glaciers
more ...