Survival Tales – Rebecca’s comments

I asked participants in the first few trial shows of Survival Tales for feedback to help develop the performances and workshops. One friend, Rebecca, sent such interesting discursive feedback that with her permission I’ve reproduced it here.

The point of the show is to stimulate thought and discussion – did you feel it did this?

Yes it did. When I read the publicity material I was very excited because it seemed that the event was so different from the majority of discussion/entertainment/performance that is out there. It seemed to be addressing thoughts that I had but don’t often have a chance to discuss and think about.

What did you think of the performance?

Singing was beautiful and powerful especially in such a close informal setting. Very moving. I enjoyed the repartee too. I liked the fact that it was very locally relevant but also drew on the bigger picture.

The dialogue with God was interesting to me.

I liked the way you challenged our notion of who is right and what that might mean and not mean. Using yourself as the focus stopped it feeling too threatening to those who also might see themselves as “heroes”.

How did the workshop go?

I enjoyed it. It was fun and thought-provoking and not too simple that I felt that I was on a training course. I have my reservations about the apocalyptic turn these kind of debates often take. In an emergency set-up we can see the futility of what we hold dear in normal stable conditions so I wondered if there was other ways to explore the dilemmas we all face everyday in small and large ethically conflicted life decisions.

It would have been interesting to somehow draw the core elements, basic materials to see if there was essential agreement if there was – maybe that’s the next stage?

Did the two work well together?

They did I think, though the link was not necessarily obviously overt. It was definitely nice to have a balance between listening to your ideas and then sharing with others. It was also nice that the atmosphere was light and gentle rather than dark and gloomy or authoritarian.

What thoughts or ideas did the event kick off for you or remind you of?

It made me reflect that there are certain essentials, like for example warmth, that we all agreed we couldn’t survive without and how that is a challenge to meet in an environmentally sustainable way.

I also thought about your ending – your sense that we’re doomed and the way you have dealt with that is to try to focus on the idea that, although you feel that, you don’t know – you’re not in charge. But that because of the focus of the environmental debate to date we have all been encouraged to think/feel that we do know and that we are individually responsible in bringing about doom or not, and that is a hell of a burden for us to carry now and in future generations.

We are living in a society that seems to dramatise to extreme all situations and when we do this with environmental issues we can scare ourselves to death with very dark bleak imaginings and seeing things in black and white end of days way, whereas it is rarely surmised that if there is a decline it may well be gradual, slow deteroration over a long period of time (to us as humans with human life spans) and that really, to me, is more a gripping reality and one that needs reflection. There may not be this life boat dramatic situation where decisions become clear but it may be a slow process and we’re waiting for one big catastrophe when actually what is happening is lots of small catastrophes that may or may not be repairable.

For me that is the place of greatest pain and difficulty – how do you make decisions in that context – how do human decisions of love and connectedness weigh if they conflict with environmental issues as we understand them at any point in time. That the call to government, legal responsibility is needed for that very reason so it is not left to those who feel strongly to act and others not – the time for voluntary action needs to be backed up by government legislation – that’s essentially what it’s there for, no?

and the thoughts go on……

Would you recommend the show to other people?


Random thought – I was thinking yesterday that if god is anywhere god is (amongst other things) in the hand that reaches out to pull another in the water onto their life raft.

Love, Rebecca

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