PLAY #61: ONE PROBLEM WITH TWO DEGREES (JAN 30)

Copenhagen Climate Summit, 2009.

Protestors from the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.

The sound of planes overhead.

 

PROTESTOR #1

They’re leaving?

 

PROTESTOR #2

As quick as they can.

 

PROTESTOR #1

Obama?

 

PROTESTOR #2

Gone.

 

Sound of planes overhead, lots and lots of planes taking off.

 

PROTESTOR #1

What was decided?

 

PROTESTOR #2

Global warming can’t exceed two degrees.

 

PROTESTOR #1

But…

 

PROTESTOR #2

I know.

 

PROTESTOR #1

We said two degrees is suicide.

 

PROTESTOR #2

Yes.

 

PROTESTOR #1

We said it had to be-

 

PROTESTOR #2

No more than one point five degrees.

 

PROTESTOR #1

Two degrees of warming means

 

PROTESTORS

three or three point five more degrees of warming across Africa

hundreds of millions of people without water

crop yields halved

incineration

two degrees is suicide

that’s what we said.

 

Sound of planes leaving Copenhagen, louder and louder and louder.

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PLAY #17: HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHELSEA MANNING (DEC 17)

The mailroom of Fort Leavenworth military prison.

Stacks and stacks of letters: piles that look more like pyramids.

Light trickles in through one barred window.

 

SWEEPER sweeps the piles around.

SORTER sifts through them.

 

SORTER

Not more.

 

SWEEPER

Looks like it.

 

SORTER

For her?

 

SWEEPER

Of course.

 

SORTER

They’re all at it, celebrities.

Lupe Fiasco

Vivienne Westwood

That bloke from R.E.M…

 

SWEEPER

Sometimes even celebrities can be right.

 

SORTER

I don’t get it.

Why anybody would want to wish a traitor ‘Happy Birthday’?

 

A letter flies in through the bars in the window.

It is shaped like a paper crane.

SWEEPER picks it up and reads it.

 

SWEEPER

dear Chelsea Manning,

thank you for releasing the cables to Wikileaks

among the many truths you illuminated

are stories of environmental injustice

that would have been befogged in filing cabinets forever

if it hadn’t been for you.

thank you for your work as an environmental defender

may your next birthday be one

where you are not bound by bars

or enchained by the prejudices and rules

that deny you your rights to express your gender identity.

may your next birthday be celebrated under the blue and brilliant sky

that you fought to protect.

 

SORTER

it seems absurd to consider a traitor a hero

not when she didn’t even know what she was doing

couldn’t have read everything she released.

 

Another letter flies through the window.

SWEEPER reads it.

 

SWEEPER

dear Chelsea Manning,

thank you

for illuminating the BP blowout in Azerbaijan in 2008

the blowout that happened two years before the 2010 Gulf Coast spill

and might have served as a warning

if blood was thicker than oil.

 

SORTER

Where are these letters coming from?

I haven’t sorted any of them yet.

 

More letters fly in the window like birds to a nest.

SWEEPER picks one up.

 

SWEEPER

dear Chelsea Manning,

thank you for revealing the behind the scenes of the Copenhagen Climate Summit

the pressure that the US put on Saudi Arabia

to sign the Copenhagen Accord

while the US was having secret meetings with China

the pair colluding to avoid binding targets.

 

SORTER

I’ll be blocking that window.

 

There is no blocking the window now though.

A stream of letter-birds flying down.

SWEEPER reads letters; bathes in the cascade.

 

SWEEPER

Dear Chelsea Manning,

thank you for illuminating

Canada’s concern with Obama’s renewables policy

thank you for illuminating

the negotiations between BP and the Azerbaijan government over gas supply

thank you for illuminating

the warnings about seismic activity made to the Japanese government pre-Fukushima

thank you for illuminating

Chevron’s negotiations to set up a cross border oilfield in Iraq and Iran despite US sanctions

thank you for illuminating

Shell’s claims to have infiltrated the Nigerian government

thank you for illuminating

the actions of US diplomats to suppress anti-mining protests in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador

thank you for illuminating

the gross injustices of a war etched in oil.

thank you

thank you

THANK YOU!

 

SORTER

That’s enough.

 

And it is.

The stream of letters stops.

A rainbow inches into the room through the window.

Brilliantly bright colors.

SWEEPER stares at the light.

 

SWEEPER

The covenant!

 

SORTER

?

 

SWEEPER

The covenant made with Noah.

 

SORTER

I’m not real religious.

 

SWEEPER

Me neither.

But I like the story

after the terrible destruction of the flood

the almost-end of humans

came a sign in the sky

a promise

that never again

could such horror happen.

A promise

that when the rainbow appeared

hope would chase its tail.

 

SORTER walks back to the mail.

 

SORTER

That light is interfering with my work.

I’ll have to report it to HR.

I’ll have to get sunglasses.

 

SWEEPER looks at the mail on the floor, the rainbow in the window

SORTER sifts through mail.

 

Light continues to come through the window.