Climate Change – Leo or YEP?

Monday, June 27, 2016 • Liverpool Arts Society

The Environementalists

Making The Revenant was about man’s relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted. – Leonardo DiCaprio

Question 1. Do you always recycle? No.

Question 2. Do you walk instead of using public transport? No.

Question 3. Do you get in from work crack open a window, bang the heating on full blast, let the shower run for twenty minutes, turn on the television, ipod speakers, all of the lights and put your phone on charge? Sometimes, yes.

And finally, Question 4. Are you aware that by doing this you are single handedly going to melt the ice caps and in turn, raise sea levels, ruin David Attenborough’s career, flood the Earth and kill everyone? (Even Keith Richards and nothing can kill him) No… Well, kind of. I’ve heard it somewhere, but I guess I just forgot.


For me, helping the Environment suffers due to a big lack of one thing… patience. Just like when going to the gym, we want an IMMEDIATE effect. We’ve all done it. Gone the gym after a year off, done six sit ups, four minutes on the treadmill, drank 10 gallons of water, texted everyone in your phonebook “I’m in the gym… Lol.” and then got home, took your top off, stood in the mirror with a magnifying glass, baffled at the sight that your six pack still hasn’t come through. Like my oiled and chizled abs, helping to make a better, stronger and healthier environment isn’t going to take effect over night. It will take a long period of time, hard work and lots of oil… oh no, sorry, thats just my abs. The human race is becoming more and more impatient. We want things quicker. Quicker food service, quicker vehicles, quicker people. Instant coffee. Instant noodles. Instant abs. Instant photo. On sunday night, I myself complained and prayed to ‘Instantino’ the Greek God of ‘Instant’ saying I needed a quicker WIFI speed to give my stream of this years Oscars a better quality. Speaking of which… (See how I did that?) DiCaprio only went and won didn’t he, finally. And he used his moment in the spotlight to highlight one big issue, climate change. With Leo’s big speech reaching people worldwide, climate change is a big topic on everyone’s lips this week. Twitter is an amzing thing isn’t it, after that speech, every Tom, Dick and Harry wanted to tell the world that they should be the next leader of the Green Party. Ironically, didn’t all this ‘online topical banter’ just make my tickets for the Everyman theatre to see YEP’s “The Environmentalists” taste that little bit sweeter. It is almost like the YEP directors Matt Rutter and Chris Tomlinson knew Leo in their younger days and had planned the whole thing… Imagine. The Environmentalists… What can I say? First and foremost, I have never felt a buzz like that in the Everyman before a show. The atmosphere in the bar and the rush of people getting to seats was amazing. People were desperate to see this show. I’ve been to many shows this year in that incredible Everyman space but no other show had an atmosphere like last night did, not even Kneehigh’s “Dead Dog” and that speaks volumes for me. How can I describe the play to you? Have you ever gone to the theatre and thought to yourself, “This play is great but imagine how much better it would be if he gets kidnapped by his vegetables”? Then “The Environmentalists” is the play for you! It was playful, hilarious, touching, intellegent, powerful, sarcastic, informative, emotional, ironic, satirical but most of all, it was honest. Surely, that ticks all the boxes you want ticking when you go to the theatre.

The Environementalists

A lot like “Until they kick us out” one of their previous shows, “The Environmentalists” was devised and in YEP’s Python-Esque style it contained many little sketch’s that all followed the same theme, “The Environment”. There was puppertry, singing, dancing, raving, hispanic jelly fish, vomitting penguins, a scouse United Nations and one hell of a powerful monologue from “Mother Nature”. In one of my favourite sketch’s a young man, wearing an Umbrella hat, portrayed a Jelly fish. The Jelly fish was lonely and was searching for a mate. The jelly fish also had a hispanic accent and used the word “Mamacita”. (Stay with me here…)  The jelly fish would approach other said jelly fish trying to find a mate, only to find that they were in fact plastic bags. Every time this young man, that was wearing an umbrella hat portraying a hispanic jelly fish, approached what we could quite clearly see were plastic bags and his hopes and dreams were shot down, he earned an immense “Awww” from the audience. Through all the ridiculousness of this scene, we as an audience were convinced and left discussing whether or not jelly fish are lonely and if in fact they would have hispanic accents. Is that, or is that not the beauty of theatre? These young performers made us worry for the penguins, for jelly fish, for the future and eventually for ourselves.

THE SET WAS INCREDIBLE. And the young girl studying at LIPA who designed it deserves a huge congratulations and a well done, a pat on the back and a shake of the hand. Made entirely from rubbish the set contained items from plastic bags and crisp packets, to broken laptops and famous apple products. At one point I winced as an actress pushed a trolley over a broken Ipad. Was that intentional? Did they do that to make me question my own views? Probably not, but I did. I was embarrassed of my reaction. It made me want to smash my own Iphone. I didn’t. But I could have.

I love my theatre. I’ve studied it from a young age. And one of the most powerful things you take away from a YEP production is that young people are being inspired. They’re taught satire and they’re allowed to run with whatever weird and wonderful idea it is that they have in their head. There is no negativity, nothing is blocked. Their creative ideas are nurtured and like the pot of earth I was given at the end of the play, (that I then carried round several pubs and one club before stumbling through my front door, earth intact) their idea will grow. YEP are producing exactly what I want for the future of British theatre. Bold, brash, fast paced, honest theatre makers, that aren’t affraid to tell us what we don’t want to hear. This is not Youth Theatre simply for the performers Mums, Dads, Nans, Grandads, family and friends to go to. This is a show of immense quality, that EVERYONE should go and see.

After a week of climate change everywhere, this show, Leo’s speech and twitter, what are my views on climate change now? One line stands out for me from this brilliant little play, a completely random line from one of my least favourite sketch’s. “We didn’t inherit the planet from our fathers, we borrowed it from our children.” How poignant is that? How selfless! And there lies the message. Do we want to be the selfish generation that spoils it for everyone else. Think of the future. This play was by the future generation about the future future generation. And if that one line can’t make you think about how your lifestyle is effecting the environment, then I don’t think you’ll change.

Did Leo’s speech make me change my view on climate change? Not really, I just said “Well in Leo, mate!” and took myself to bed. To be honest, I think I even left the tele on stand-by. Did the show change my views? I’m no Al Gore, I didn’t go out and buy loads of Solar panels and spend the night sweeping Liverpool’s streets, but I did turn the tele off at the wall. Baby steps.

“Just do it anyway. You just might save the world.”

The Environmentalists

Well done to everyone involved. You should all be immensely proud.