Ariel's Feelings About Climate Change

Ariel Martz-Oberlander

This blog comes to us from the Stage Manager for the Climate Change Theatre Action event taking place on November 12th. Ariel Martz-Oberlander will also be performing with The Only Animal in their piece.

Asking me my feelings about climate change is like asking me my feelings about my own existence. It is such a complex web, I cannot begin to identify the strands, and even feel that if I let myself look at it, the answer will shake me in a way I will not able to stand. I carry this thing we call climate change in my body every day. I don’t put a lot of store in the idea that we are at all separate from anything else – I think more and more that everything really is everything else. Increasingly angry storms bring me nightmares, which spill into my days and disorient me. The hazy smoky weeks of last summer unsettled me and I spent hours a day trying to convince the sky to rain. I awoke in the morning to what looked like dusk, and I questioned deeply my ability to live through what is to come. In this way, I cannot answer the question, because my feelings are new and strange. We were not given the tools or the experience to live with this amount of grief and loss. All we can do is be a witness to it, and that is a very powerless feeling.

For the past several years, I have been making theatre about climate change in various forms. I try to tell, and make space for other peoples’ telling, of stories that can give us some comfort. I try to give room to take the global personally, knowing that the personal is political and immediate and relevant. As a community organizer and artist, I am also a counselor, a cook, a friend, and a teacher, and it is this holistic model of art creation that I think has the power to teach us how to save ourselves. Connection is the antidote to this capital-driven, individualized, lonely and scary world, and my goal as a theatre artist is to find new ways to connect people and stories.

I am thrilled to be working with The Only Animal again, the province’s foremost theatre company working on climate change, especially on this project that balances the large and small scales so well. It will be a small event on its own, but as part of a network of actions happening around the world, presenting pieces written by international playwrights, it also serves to connect a large virtual community. And that’s what we need right now, to feel we are holding hands in a big way.

See the show on November 12th at 2pm at the Red Gate Revue Stage.


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