Guilt. It’s a powerful emotion that not only causes the worst stomach aches, but also an emotion that may prevent imperative social action from taking place. Through the use of vivid and compelling storytelling, Alanna Mitchell self-discloses her experiences which lead to her strong desire to advocate for climate change action. This performer, a journalist just “breaking the rules” by performing a one-woman show about herself, presented the artistic side of science, which seeks understanding of the knowledge pursued through the act of science. With nothing but a sense of nostalgia for the Canadian Prairies and her fine-tuned skill for asking questions, Mitchell takes you through her journey to explore the changes in the ocean’s climate that have been changing as a result of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Ultimately, Mitchell explores how we can change the end of this story we call “global warming” through the forgiving nature of our own guilt.
In this performance, Mitchell stood alone. Almost like a conversation, Mitchell disclosed her lack of experience in both science and performance, yet still establishing a sense of trust within the audience as she stood before us announcing her experiences. With each passing scene, a new one began with a change of spotlight in color and location. A circle drawn on the ground around her, in a way representing our view into her personal bubble and her desire to share with the audience. The room was small and intimate, foreshadowing some intimate confessions and serious discussion. Throughout the performance, I was never disengaged nor disinterested in what was about to be said. Mitchell’s convincing attitude toward global warming was enough to give rise to many goosebumps just peering out to hear more.
With a major in meteorology and a minor in communication studies, I have a huge fascination in how communication plays a role in science and the major impact it has on social action. This incredibly thoughtful declaration of Mitchell’s perspective on this critical topic sparked my interest and inspired a burning fire to further understand the role that storytelling has in contemporary issues. This performance was unlike any other that advises social action to improve our climate in a way that is honest, educational, and even slightly comedic! This is an important issue that not only needs to be addressed and talked about, but it also needs action. Like, now. Time, yet a another concept mentioned in Sea Sick, is running out to recover from the damage that’s already been done. So, accept the past, forgive yourself, rid the guilt that prevents us from rewriting our ending, and start by seeing this performance!