Last night over 130 people turned out to take part or support an evening of music, drama and stories that launched Emily Johns' exhibition,'What the Oil is Thinking,' at Pontardawe Arts Centre. The Murdon Choir sang, Mess up the Mess, a youth theatre group, performed a physical piece of theatre, inter-spersed with facts about oil spills and the cost to us all. Members of Script Cafe had their five minute plays performed by professional actors. There was a communal piece,'We're going to see the Albatross,' devised by participants of 'Make a Play in a Day' using as their starting point Emily's print of an albatross hovering over a sea- city of plastic, the size of Texas.
Then a piece exploring how difficult it is when you're dealing with climate change and green issues, not to preach or lecture. Does making people feel guilty about using their cars or flying long distances work any better? If people know the scientific facts, will that help people change their thirst for oil? Should we start fining people for not re-cycling?
This is a really challenging area for those playwrights who want to tackle big issues. The conclusion was that it's the pictures and images that we hold within our mind's eye or stories told to us by others, that make an impact and influence us to change. But is it that simple? My experience working with people with disabilities, trying to challenge attitudes and behaviour made me realise that without legislation and enforcement, effecting change can be half-hearted and take a very long time. So what needs to happen when we know what we should be doing to save our resources but we're lazy or don't entirely believe that the future of the planet lies in our oil-stained hands?