Climate change is affecting everything around us—rapidly. As climate change continues to inspire action, artists are seeking out new ways to raise awareness. Green Shorts chose to use film as their preferred method. This past Tuesday and Wednesday night, the Pomona College Theatre Department for the Claremont Colleges and the Claremont Colleges Environmental Analysis Program brought Green Shorts: Films (re)Imagining Our Troubled Environment to the Rose Hills Theatre on Pomona’s campus.
The showing comprised of six student-directed and student-acted films, which used works by international playwrights aimed towards bringing awareness of climate change.
Green Shorts is part of the Climate Change Theatre Action movement, which intends to encourage discussion about climate change. Climate Change Theatre Action is working together with NoPassport, The Artic Cycle, Theatres without Borders, Vision LA Fest, and ARTCOP21 (which was created in support of the current United Nations 2015 Paris Climate Conference) to bring events such as Green Shorts to fruition. This presentation was one of over a hundred similar events held during this November and December in over twenty countries.
The first film presented was “Starving to Death in Midtown,” directed by Evan DeLorenzo PO '17 and starring Yasmin Adams PO '17. This short opened with a shot of vibrant flowers in a farmer’s market and a woman narrating about the rising problem of pesticides and toxins in our environment. The film also focused on how these issues are affecting bees specifically.
“Them and Us,” directed by Angela Han PO '16 and starring Milagros Montalvo PO '18 and Miles Burton PO '17, featured an intense conversation between two individuals over coffee. They argued whether a documentary should be able to target developing countries in Africa and Asia about the negative effects industrialization have on the planet. One character argued that the responsibility of treating earth right should be placed in the hands of the people who are causing the damages, and that developing countries to be left alone to continue to progress. The other disagreed and believed that developing countries should be aware of the possible dangers and consequences of irresponsible industrialization.
“El Pescador y La Lluvia,” written by Professor Giovanni Jose Ortega, directed by Evan DeLorenzo PO '17, and starring Amy Griffin SC '18 and Juan Zamudio PO '18, featured two individuals at ease with nature with a stream-of-consciousness narration, with one’s partly in Spanish. Their thoughts reflected on the changing environment due to climate change, drought and smog.
“How to Deny Climate Change in 5 Easy Steps” provided the audience with a satirical guide to how to be oblivious to the global issue.
“63 People in 4 Days” by international playwright Jordan Hall was directed by Harrison Goodall PO '16 and starred Nyia Hamilton PO '18, Donald Abram PO '16 and Aurora Brachman PO '17. The play brought the current social issues that are feeding climate change to light, including the disputes politicians, corporations, and the general public has about how some projects and actions can contribute to climate change.
“Earth Duet” included a couple’s narration about their feelings toward what we all should do about the issue. The two completed each others' thoughts about whether we have the responsibility to change the world or to “change the way we work upon the world.”
Students of the 5Cs in the theater class Basic Acting: Tools and Fundamentals taught by professor Giovanni Ortega had the a unique opportunity to read the plays before seeing the films.
Lena Fox PO ’17, a student in the class, reflected that watching the films after analyzing the scripts in class was both an interesting and effective artistic experience.
“It was actually very interesting,” Fox said. “We’re in an acting class and we just did a stage reading of 'Them and Us' and 'Earth Duet,' so it was interesting having us perform them and then seeing them with the visual aid. I thought it was really cool that we had done them before to see how others interpreted the work but I thought the visual aid was really powerful too.”
Bridgette Ramirez SC '17 also found that the experience of shifting perspectives was thought provoking, and encouraged students to think more critically about the material and focus of the films.
“I like the roles being switched on us. From being a performer to being a viewer made me think more of what the material is actually about and how important it is to address these issues,” Ramirez said.