by Tim Mooney
It is almost time for Rogue Festival again–it will be taking place March 6-14 in the Tower District of Fresno. Throughout the month of February we will be publishing many Rogue Festival performer preview articles, and this the second one so far. This year we have added a special category where you will be able to find all of our Rogue Festival articles. During Rogue we will be reviewing shows as usual, and we also have a Rogue Festival event page with more information!
I’ve been touring with one-man shows pretty much non-stop for eighteen years now. Mostly I do classical material: Shakespeare, Molière, a collection of the Greatest Speeches of all time. But in 2017, something happened which changed my life, and sent me off on a new track that I never anticipated.
I saw a one-man play.
Usually seeing a one-man play is no big deal to me. I’ve performed ten of them, and see dozens more every year.
But this one was about climate change. Climate change in the near future. The immediate near future.
My friend, Dan Kinch, was performing his one-man show about climate change at the Tampa Fringe Festival, and his play woke me up to what I knew, in the back of my mind, was happening, but which I’d managed to ignore subconsciously.
That play has become the lens through which I now view the modern world: a modern world that has heated up enormously, even just since 2017.
“Climate Change” is not just some subtle shift in temperature that occasionally gives us a warm, lovely day in the middle of what used to be dreary winters. Climate Change is on track to bring about near-term human extinction.
There was a lot of resistance to Dan’s play that day. People didn’t want to believe it, or even to take it seriously. They had heard that we have 50 to 100 years before this thing gets bad, kicks the temperature up a degree or two, and makes the ocean rise an inch or two.
Dan was standing in the present, talking about a future that people refused to see.
How could I make them see that future?
What if I stood in the future? The very near future, and talked about the past? A past where I had stood (as I do now), and failed, along with everyone around me, to take action.
Yes, it’s the old “last man on earth” scenario. I put myself into the shoes of that future self, and allowed myself to speak in his voice. What would he have to say? To whom might he be speaking? Is he still capable of telling jokes?
Who would laugh at them?
Gradually realizing that there was no one out there listening, at least on this planet, he turns to talk to the universe at large. If aliens were the only thinking beings who might one day pick up his radio signal, what would he have to say to them?
I wrote Man Cave, a One-Man Sci-Fi Climate Change Tragicomedy over the course of about six months, and spent another six months memorizing it. I have spent the last 18 months sharing it with everyone who might possibly come to see it.
I am, of course, gratified that people seem to like it very much. I have no idea of whether it will ultimately make any difference.
But, of course, none of us ever know that. The best we can do is to do the best we can do.
And maybe tell a few jokes.
Performances are at The Revue (626 Olive Ave.) Saturday, March 7 (2 pm), Sunday, March 8 (3:30 pm), Thursday, March 8 (7:00 pm), Friday, March 13 (8:30 pm) and Sunday, March 14 (2:00 pm). Matinee performances are intended for all audiences, while evening performances (March 8 & 13) have somewhat stronger language, and are rated “PG-13”)
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play, and also on Podbean.
Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section.