Monday Monologues begin with climate change theater performance

During the first Monday Monologue of the semester, two cast members from “Climate Change Theatre Action: Lighting the Way” acted as frogs for an excerpt from the full performance.

Logan Metzger

As noon rolled around on Monday, the Grant Wood Foyer quickly started to fill with students in anticipation of the Monday Monologue at 12:15 p.m.

This week’s Monday Monologue was a collection of excerpts from “Climate Change Theatre Action: Lighting the Way” performed by the department of music and theatre.

The first excerpt was a performance by two cast members who wore green sunglasses and acted as frogs by a pond while the other cast members created pond noises around the room. One of the frogs acted very chill and tried not to worry too much about the state of the pond while the other frog was freaking out.

“It used to be the things that would kill us were birds or snakes or winter […] or abductions; now it’s tumors,” said one of the actors. “Who knows what it will be like for our kids or our kids’ kids. I mean we are already seeing weird stuff like the extra limbs and ambiguous sex organs.”

At the end of the performance, the two frogs added some advice such as keeping things clean, not wasting food, avoiding plastic as much as possible and staying out of the way of people who are doing everything they can.

The second excerpt was a performance by the full cast that explained different categories of hurricanes. Two cast members described the hurricanes while the rest of the cast acted as the hurricane itself, making wind sounds and drumming.

“Category one, 77 miles an hour, 33 meters per second,” said one cast member. “Your mobile home will topple if not secured, weak trees will snap, a few shingles will blow off, lights may go off for a few days.”

The cast goes through five categories in total, each getting more and more severe. The cast members forming the hurricane get louder and inch closer to the audience with each category, using the echoes of the foyer to their full potential.

“When a hurricane comes it is not the wind or the rain that kills you,” said another cast member. “It is the pieces of the places that you used to know flying through the air at a break-neck, break-skull, break-heart velocity. It is the pieces of your neighborhood shaken loose and weaponized, projectile mailboxes and lawn chairs.”

The third and final excerpt was a performance by two cast members titled “Homosapiens.” The two cast members acted as alien explorers, who are evolved humans discovering former-humans for the first time.

“They were dominant species for 200,000 years until about 1,500 years ago,” one cast member said. “The prevailing theory said they precipitated the six mass extinctions and caused their own demise.”

One of them was very worried and terrified of them while the other was excited and interacted heavily with the audience members, even feeding one chocolate.

“It’s weird to be looking at your own past,” another cast member said. “Then again it must be weird to be staring at your future. You know, whatever happened, I’m sure it was complicated. These things always are. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume you tried your best, some of you messed up, some of you fought hard, and here we are.”

This Monday Monologue was a selection of excerpts from the full performance of Iowa State alumna Vivian Cook’s “Climate Change Theatre Action: Lighting the Way,” which the department will be performing later. The performance is a series of short plays aimed to address climate change issues and serve as a call to community action in partnership with the international Climate Change Theatre Action initiative.

Full-length performances will take place Friday to Sunday at Fisher Theatre, Oct. 10 on the Parks Library lawn and Oct. 20 at the Ames Public Library. All performances are free admission with general seating.

The next Monday Monologue will take place from 12:15 to 12:45 on Oct. 14 in the Grant Wood Foyer. Rita Mookerjee, lecturer of sociology, will read from her book “Becoming the Bronze Idol.”