Change of climate

16 April 2019

Sam Ross is enlightened by How To Save A Rock

I don’t know what I’m doing.

A lot of the time I honestly feel like I’m simply bumbling along, trying hard to keep all the plates spinning. There is my uni work to consider – currently two coursework essays, an oral presentation and a theatre dissertation. Then there’s just the simple act of getting by, preparing food for myself. There’s also the matter of get my shit together for once I leave uni (see my review for Bost-Uni Plues). And on top of that is just the small fact that I’m tasked with writing several reviews and articles for Noises Off (hi Florence and Naomi).

Then there’s the kind of enormous matter of saving our planet. I alone must stop climate change.

Well actually that’s not true. But it often feels like that. Worrying about the environment has played an increasing part in my conscious daily life (and sometimes my unconscious one as well). I try to recycle. I try to use reusable bottles and coffee cups. I take public transport. I eat a vaguely vegetarian diet. But still it doesn’t seem like enough. I should be live a zero-waste lifestyle. I should stop drinking cow’s milk and eating dairy. I should stop buying exported fruit wrapped in cellophane. I shouldn’t even have a fucking child.

I feel like Pigfoot Theatre recognise this distinctly. In interim sections of their carbon neutral devised performance How to Save a Rock, the performers step out of character and admit their concerns and difficulties surrounding trying to live an eco-lifestyle. About the unsustainable consumption of disposable cups. About the pitfalls of using tote bags. About whether or not to have a child, considering they will emit 10,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere BY JUST EXISTING.

You can really sense a powerful aura of community from sitting in an almost pitch-black room, only lit by solar-powered torches and bike-powered lights. It’s almost as if we travelled right back to our storytelling roots, sitting around a carbon-neutral ‘campfire’ as the storytellers tell us how the rock we live on was created millions of years ago. About how miraculously complex organisms grew from humble base elements that just happened to coalesce here. How we incredibly slowly evolved into the awe-inspiring beings that we are, before rapidly impacting and reconstituting our entire planet over just the last hundreds of years. Those same soothsayers prophesy the increasing levels of the oceans, plastic pollution, and Toy Story movies (too many). We observe with wonder and are transported on Coco’s epic journey across Britain to save the last ever polar bear. The power here lies in our own imagination, building on the stimulus our storytellers provide – a crisp packet, a ladder, two cans stuck together, fairy lights.

The story may wander and falter at points, but storytelling is like that – a human endeavour. And with enraptured listeners with active imaginations, anything is possible. Maybe we can save the planet. We just need to do so together.

@noffmag / [email protected]

Image credit: Brett Chapman