Austrayleea floated away
Didn’t come back some other day
Just like Italy, India and Greece
Momma said “Darling, life’s got teeth.
Life can tear and trip you up
Just like the water you sip from a cup.
Don’t be selfish, don’t be cruel
Or we’ll all end up in a swimming pool.”
excerpted from #PhillySavesEarth
by Marty Pottenger
A series of performances, exhibitions and events that reflected on Philadelphia’s past while re-envisioning its future.
#PhillySavesEarth was part of the Painted Bride’s Re-PLACING-ing Philadelphia project. The show was a kaleidoscopic remix of history, ecology, protest and personal narrative that revealed the essential connections we share with the natural world. Philadelphia experts joined the performance as Philly’s social justice history came to life through the words of Frederick Douglass, astronaut Guy Bluford, urban ecologist Scott Quitel, a SEPTA bus driver, Delaware Riverkeeper Maya von Rossum, and Pope Francis.
#PhillySavesEarth was directed by David O’Connor and designed by Sara Outing. The score for the piece was provided by Nioka Workman on cello and included some Philadelphia Sound hits from Teddy Pendergrass, Patti LaBelle, and Boys II Men.
Marty Pottenger wrote most of #PhillySavesEarth during her residency at The MacDowell Colony after a year-and-a-half of research and story exchanges with Philadelphia residents. At its heart, #PhillySavesEarth was an intimate, uncompromising look at the impact of humans on the environment and the opportunity for Philadelphians to revolutionize that relationship.
Philly’s been home to game-changing social justice victories. For Pottenger, writing #PhillySavesEarth gave her the courage to consider climate change and the consequences around us and up ahead. As many of us struggle to find time and mind to contemplate climate change, where better than theater to come together with heart, science, humor, and hope?
We asked the audience to look at their own histories as mirrors of what we are doing to the earth: Witnessing. Participating. Benefiting. The story maps may be wrong, but anchoring them in history is not. There are those of you who have bloody tales of your own. There are others here tonight damaged to the core by silence, abandonment, by measured affection. We have won such victories and we have lost so many. We are not doing anything to the earth that we don’t do to each other.
This event was part of Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia, the Painted Bride’s project focusing on building an expanded archive of cultural memory that includes multiple histories, re-place-ing the established with new narratives and understandings of Philadelphia. Visit www.re-place-ing.org for more information on the project and the culminating April 2016 events.
Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia was supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.