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Review: ‘I stand for what I stand on’ @ Tobacco Factory ★ ★ ★ ★★

It feels like another time when Greta Thunberg and the School Strike for Climate movement were dominating news headlines globally in February 2019.

By Lois Ryan, Arts Writer

It feels like another time when Greta Thunberg and the School Strike for Climate movement were dominating news headlines globally in February 2019. Strike A Light’s ‘I stand for what I stand on’ jerks the audience back to that time, reminding us that the time for those headlines is here and now, even more so than it was then. The time in question? The time to act.

The show gives an insight into the emotional whirlwind of anxiety, frustration, fear and compassion shared by those behind the Fridays For Future movement. Told by four inspiring young climate activists from Gloucester - Jay (17), Rebecca (16), Nora (15) and Amy (15).

A feeling of intimacy within a global crisis is perfectly constructed by a semi-circle stage, inviting the audience into the intimacy of the community’s shared burden.

Image courtesy of David Grange

This is accompanied by a backdrop switching between the photos and voice recordings of different activists from all around the world, demonstrating the scale, size and strength of this global community of children supporting each other.

The cast break from reality to tell a fairytale of greedy goblins threatening fairies in a not-so-faraway kingdom, toying with the nature of history in a way Foucault would have relished. Below the almost transparent surface metaphor for the climate crisis’ inseparability from economic and political motivations, the cast’s storytelling draw attention to our place in history now, with two potential futures before us. One where we survive, and one where we don’t.

We are asked to see the past and the future on par with one another as stories, showing the future to be just as much a story as the past. Action versus inaction in the fairytale restores a feeling of agency among an audience overwhelmed by the crisis - the choice of which direction to go in is in our hands.

Cast members pictured Nora Buffrey and Amy Larkman | Image Courtesy of David Grange

Whether the show’s closing message of hope in coming together as a global community rings true or not, probably depends on whether you think the current system works. Especially given that the type of activism the cast support could soon land you up to ten years in prison for being a ‘nuisance’ under the PCSC bill currently making its way through the House of Lords.

The truth which did ring true, however, is that we are most definitely at a crossroads of some kind. Jay, Amy, Rebecca and Nora, four passionate and empathic adolescents, in showing us their vulnerabilities remind us of our own. If we feel as though we are coming out of the woods after the pandemic, there is still another, even larger crisis at hand, and the story of how that goes is ours to write.

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Featured Image: David Grange

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