‘If nobody does remarkable things’ put climate change, activism in the spotlight

In the play, a man in a denim outfit examines a woman's hand in a kitchen.
From Oct. 6-9, the Pomona College mainstage put on ‘If nobody does remarkable things’ by Emma Gibson. (Courtesy: Sage Wong-Davies)

Last weekend, 5C students entered a dark, stormy and all-too-foreseeable future at the Allen Theatre. From Oct. 6-9, the Pomona College mainstage put on ‘If nobody does remarkable things’ by Emma Gibson. A story of forgiveness, climate change, activism and sacrifices, the play brought a new perspective to the 5Cs.

GiGi Buddie PO ’23 suggested the department put on this play because she believed this style of theater — eco drama — had been missing. Buddie also played a main role in the cast of the production as Ana: a mother, wife and retired climate activist who is struggling to fight for what is important.

“I do a lot of work at the intersection of theater, arts and environmental justice and climate justice,” Buddie said. “I feel really strongly about the power of eco dramas being that they can make big issues that are seemingly hard to connect to … a bit more real and easier to latch on to.”

The play inspired tears, sniffles and laughter in the audience during its run. 

“I didn’t really have many expectations going in, … but it was a lot more emotional than I thought it was going to be,” Alekzander Grijalva HM ’23 said, a viewer of the performance on Oct. 8. 

As a play about climate change, “If nobody does remarkable things” portrays the devastating future of the world if more sustainable practices are not brought into the spotlight. Calling out the lacking actions of the characters, world and audience, the play brings viewers into the difficult but necessary conversation.

Georgia Avery SC ’26 saw the performance on Oct. 8, and said the play was “bringing back climate change to people’s attention.” She also said that “it’s not gonna get better if no one does nothing about it.”

Climate change is not going away anytime soon, but the play also highlights the draining nature of activism.

“It is extremely taxing, and I think that [Ana] is navigating that in a way that is not potentially the healthiest or most streamlined,” Buddie said.

It comes with lots of sacrifices and this particularly extreme instance is showing the hardest possible sacrifice a person could make.”

The play notes the exhausting and draining feeling of fighting for the world as well as the expectations for self-care that are constantly pushed.

“It comes with lots of sacrifices and this particularly extreme instance is showing the hardest possible sacrifice a person could make,” Grijalva said. This sacrifice is choosing to fight against rather than ignore climate change.

The play was a department effort. Avery and Grijalva both noted the spectacular lighting and effects throughout the play.

These effects were a key aspect to the play, as they drew the audience into the setting. In line with the play’s themes, Buddie explained the significant shifts the department made this year to focus on more sustainable practices in special effects.

“Theater itself isn’t exactly the most sustainable thing when you do it in the traditional theater sense,” Buddie said. “I pushed for programs and tickets to be zero waste, to have it digital.”

Surprisingly, these seemingly simple shifts had not been instituted 5C-wide before this production. Buddie continued to note many other simple changes that haven’t been seen at the schools

“The department, the schools, society in general, haven’t caught up to how to make shifts in how they’ve been doing things to make them more sustainable,” Buddie said.

The play highlights the necessity of these simple changes. It urges viewers to reflect on their actions and realize the impact of their actions. By using disposable plastic rather than reusable items, the world is going to continue to hurle into a severe climate crisis that impacts everyone.

“It’s showing where things are headed and what it takes,” Grijalva said. “A lot of us can make sacrifices in our everyday lives that are way easier than the ones the characters make, so I think it is kind of inspiring.”

As a call to action, the characters constantly asked each other and the audience of their impact with climate crises. Parallels were constantly noted throughout the play as climate crises can be seen today with sea levels rising, weather patterns changing, coral reefs dying and Arctic ice melting.

“Some people don’t really believe in [climate change] or see that it is a big threat until it actually is impacting their lives,” Avery said.

This message was pivotal to the play as it shows that everyone around the world will experience the dangers of climate change.

Grijalva felt the impact of the actors, tech crew, director, and others behind the scenes showing enthusiasm and care for the message. 

”Everybody in the play is relentless in their own way about seeing change,” he said. 

As the first time bringing eco dramas to the mainstage, the performance was sometimes both necessary and difficult for those involved. Seeing the exhausting work of activism and the constant fight for change was relatable for viewers as they were able to reflect on the changes still required today. Though potentially difficult, Buddie reminds of the importance of watching hard topics on stage:

“That’s why we go to the theater, we want to see people working through hard shit.”

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