Sunday, 13 November 2011


Yesterday, November 12th, was Remembrance Day for Lost Species. Three species are lost to eternity every hour.  Feral Theatre's Funeral for Lost Species considers the social significance of extinction and commemorates it as a social tragedy. We were invited to hold an event that remembered and celebrated lost species.
      Over the past few months members of Pontardawe Script Cafe have been working on the theme, 'Conscious oil,' writing short plays in response to a set of dramatic prints created by Emily Johns on the theme of our historical relationship to oil.  Yesterday we held an event,'Make a Play in a Day' where we responded to one of the prints, an endangered albatross with its wings spread, hovering over a city of abandoned plastic bottles. There used to be 21 species of albatross and now there are only three species left. We devised a communal piece that explores the issue. It's very difficult not to be preachy and we had some interesting discussions about how best to put our message across, what motivates people  to change their behaviour and how can we adapt to survive climate change? Our inter-connectness with all species was again highlighted and reinforced. What kind of species will humans become? Will we become as extinct as a Dodo or what kind of mutation might we evolve into?
      We'll be performing our piece on Tuesday 15th of November at 7pm at the Arts Centre. Professional actors, directed by Derek Cobley will be performing the individual short plays, and in addition, Mess up the Mess, a local youth theatre group will be performing, and the Murton Choir from Swansea will be singing.  So now all I've got to do is learn my lines. Eeek!
     On return from Pontardawe, we had a quick fish and chip supper and drove down to the Royal Welsh Theatre of Music and Drama. The building was only finished in June and is already a architectural icon overlooking Bute Park.  'Blazin' Fiddles,' a group of five fiddlers, an electric organ player and a guitarist from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland entertained us wholeheartedly for the evening. In the first half of the programme of jigs, reels, laments and marches, the Cardiff audience sat rather primly and politely. After the interval the mood changed and everyone was clapping, nodding and whooping for more.  But sadly only a few of us responded to the call to get up and dance, led by a black woman groupie from London. We jumped, stamped and clapped to the wild, heart-stomping playing of the sweating Celtic musicians.  Our spirits soar!
        I got back to find an email from a person I'd mentored several years ago and with whom I lost touch when I went to Shetland for a year. He had been in care for most of his life and the future wasn't looking too bright for him. He'd re-found me through Google. I was delighted to read how he'd turned his life  around, was working, had finally got his GCSE's, was in a relationship, and was off alone on a back-packing adventure to Australia. Inspiring!
         What a Day!

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