Thursday, April 26, 2018

If We Only Had a Brain

At a recent performance, the star of the show, planet earth, stood front and center. One recurring theme of climate change is that, though we are individually very intelligent, that intelligence is often not expressed collectively. We are, collectively, faced with a choice, to adapt now to reduce climate change's impact later, or be forced to adapt much more later on, as changing climate wreaks increasing havoc with our lives. Our courage, generosity and resourcefulness are on full display any time disaster strikes, amply demonstrated during last year's hurricane season. At those times, we display a powerful, heroic sense of teamwork and unity. Why don't we exercise these admirable traits to shift now, collectively and as individuals, away from those carbon-based fuels that serve present needs but endanger the future?

To highlight this vexing lack of collective intelligence, Climate Cabaret has "climate-adapted" the wonderful 1939 lyrics by Yip Harburg in The Wizard of Oz.

If We Only Had a Brain
The carbonated version
(Adapted by Stephen Hiltner, from the original lyrics by Yip Harburg)

We could while away the hours,
Conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain.
Had we listened to the warnings
We’d have conquered global warming
If we only had a brain.

We’d be givin’ back to nature,
And tell the legislature
To stop being so insane.
Solar panels we’d be linkin’
Of the future we’d be thinkin’
If we only had a brain.

Oh I, can’t tell you why our cities are near the shore.
No one will remember what was there before.
If they all flood, we’ll build some more.

Oh, the oceans wouldn’t be risin’
And continents downsizin’--
A future full of pain.
We’d have listened to Al’s story,
Taken heed of allegory,

If we only had a brain.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Scenes from Climate Cabaret

Leading up to our free performance at the Arts Council of Princeton, April 18, 7pm, here are some scenes from the show--photos from rehearsals, and a videotaped performance. Come check it out in beautiful Solley Theater!

Kitty Getlik plays a therapist in Turf Therapy, as one of her more difficult patients, a Suburban Lawn, works through its issues of chemical addiction and an irrational fear of weeds and bugs.

I don't know, this guy seemed pretty nice, but what's that exhaust pipe doing on his right arm? He said his name is Captain Hooked-On-Fossil-Fuels. Cheryl's thinking "Why do all these guys come with issues?"

Thanks to Dwaine Williamson for videotaping this performance of "CO2: We're an It," in which CO2, not wanting to be the bad guy, tells a packed room at the Trenton Library to "find energy above the ground and leave the carbon underground." (May need to crank the volume a bit. CO2 molecules tend to be soft spoken.)

Steve Hiltner and pianist Phil Orr bring an element of original Sustainable Jazz to Climate Cabaret performances.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Free Performance April 18, Arts Council of Princeton

The tough work of environmentalism needs to be balanced with joy and merrimentalism!

Join in some improbable fun on Wednesday, April 18, 7pm, with Climate Cabaret's "Earth Dialogues" at the Arts Council of Princeton's Solley Theater. 

In Climate Cabaret, theater and music combine to find comedy, poignancy and beauty in the greatest challenge of our time: our relationship to Earth. A stubbornly abstract subject is brought home to our bodies and our hearts. Molecules become characters; carbon becomes a seductive renaissance atom with issues. Hamlet drops in to ask the existential question, "To act, or not to act?" Witness a man's tragicomic breakup with his car. Mock drug ads for Lyatol and Gasoline list troubling side-effects. Classic songs are "climate-adapted" to speak of human folly and love for a planet. Witness this unique, Princeton-born production, featuring the musical and theatrical creations of writer/composer Stephen Hiltner.

Performers: Cheryl Jones, Basha Parmet, Kitty Getlik, Fred Dennehy, and the Sustainable Jazz duo of actor/saxophonist Steve Hiltner, and pianist extraordinaire Phil Orr.

This performance is part of the Arts Council of Princeton’s Community Stage Series.

Program is free, but advance registration is recommended. For more information, please call 609.924.8777.