Message vs. Action

This Post was originally posted to Mike Lawler’s ecoTheaer blog on April 25, 2007. We are reposting it here to share this ecoTheater classic with new readers while MIke continues to regain his health. You can read his blog about his ongoing battle with cancer, The “C” Word, by clicking here.

In 1992, American Theatre ran an article called Green Theatre: Confessions of an Eco-reporter, in which Lynn Jacobson traveled to three performing arts companies–Merrimack Repertory in Lowell, MA, the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, and Dell’Arte Players Company in northern California–and wrote about the work they were doing on the allegedly emerging front of “Green Theatre.”

In the fall of this year my first published foray into “greening” our theaters is slated to appear in the pages of American Theatre too–over fifteen years after Jacobson wrote, at the close of her piece, “Can theatre save the earth? I don’t know. But from sea to polluted sea, I’ve seen it trying.” Well, Jacobson was certainly right about one thing: Theater can’t save the earth–at least not alone. But, it does seem that it can make more of an effort than it has. Because, though Jacobson failed to really take it into account in 1992, the greening of our theater isn’t just about putting on ecologically themed work. It’s also about putting on ecologically friendly work, whether it be new, old, experimental, or otherwise.

In my research, I am struggling to find theater artists out there who are striving for a more sustainable approach to theater production. If you are one, or know of one, get in touch with me–I’d love to hear from you.

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