Climate Change Theatre Action- Turn Off Apathy

IMG_0485Climate Change Theatre Action (CCTA) was the brainchild of a group of theatre people involved with Theatre Without Borders, No Passport and The Arctic Cycle.  Recognizing that theatre has the power to wake people up and make them consider what humans can do and experience, they invited playwrights from all over the world to submit short – REALLY short – like 1-3 minute – plays related in some way to climate change and made those plays available for free performance anywhere in the world. Two such events happened in Portland, one on Nov. 24 and one on Dec. 8, both with connections to 350PDX.

The November 24 event, sponsored by Boom Arts and held at Artists’ Repertory Theatre, offered 350PDX the opportunity to set up an information/donation table and made us the beneficiary of all funds contributed at the event, which was attended by 60-80 people.  A group of volunteer professional actors, directed by Tracy Cameron Francis, read 10 plays, joined in the last one by 10 more members of the local theatre community.  The final play, which consisted of people’s excuses for doing nothing, ended with both actors and audience offering personal reasons for doing something:

“Because my first grandson is due in a week
Because of the hummingbirds that come to my feeder
Because I want my daughter to see the Alaskan glaciers
Because we only have one planet…”

In addition to solicited plays, there were three by local playwrights.  “Our Fires: Music and Stories Inspired by the Tillamook Burn” was written and performed by members of Action Adventure Theatre.  “Autumn Ride” by Rich Rubin featured two guys getting ready for a bike ride despite 102 degree temperature and having to put on surgical masks before stepping outside.  Miriam Feder’s “Colder than Ice” was set in a bar serving gourmet melted glacier ice to a select clientele who know the secret password.  Other featured playwrights were from Canada, Uganda, India and the US.  The performance was followed by small group discussions and sharing of ideas for making a difference as we move forward.  Sandy Polishuk and Barbara Ford of 350PDX helped facilitate the discussion, along with Tracy Francis and Ruth Wikler Luker, Boom Arts Artistic Director.

The December 8 event, sponsored by Fossil Free Reed, was held in the Atrium of the Performing Arts Building on the Reed campus.  Under the direction of Kathleen Worley, five students and one dog performed three monologs and two short plays, one by a recent Reed grad about activists on an ice floe in the Arctic hoping to save the polar bears (see photo).  The audience was small but appreciative.  At the end of the performance, Dagan Douglas of Fossil Free Reed handed out flyers about the December 12 March and Maya Jarrad of 350PDX urged people to join us, providing info about puppets, speakers and sunflower umbrellas.