Undercurrents Festival showcases three plays all about our future, from the perspective of the present
Here at The Fulcrum, we’re not strangers to talking about climate change. Like a lot of young people, we have some concerns about what our future is going to look like, and Why Worry About Their Futures reflects our worries about the future of the world right back at us.
The performance was a collection of three short plays, presented during Undercurrents, Ottawa’s contemporary theatre festival. The three plays share “concern for the kinds of futures adults cultivate for their children.” But that’s where their similarities end.
“The Sky It Falls” is a conversation between two truck drivers who are tasked with driving chickens from the farm to the slaughter house. Like they said in the show, that job is probably the fastest way to convert someone to veganism. Written by Keith Barker, “The Sky It Falls” calls into question our relationship with other species, especially when that relationship becomes face-to-face.
A one-man act followed in “The Auden Test.” An extensive monologue that combines the story of Alan Turing — British computer scientist and code-breaker, and inventor of the Turing Test — with the myth of Icarus, famous for flying too close to the sun. Lawrence Aronovitch’s play proposes a new test (the Auden Test), which tests humans for their humanity.
Finally, the hardest hitter was “Expecting,” by Sanita Fejzić. Fejzić introduced the show on a grim note, considering the relationship between art, violence, and political resistance. “Expecting” is the story of a couple who (you guessed it) is expecting their first child. Among their worries about work, rent, climate change, the government, and corporations, they worry about the future their child will face in their lifetime.
The sounds of Valérie Despax’s cello filled the interludes. The music was perfectly curated to keep the audience contemplating their own futures between plays.
Over the course of the hour, Why Worry About Their Futures communicates some of the reasons why we need to worry about the future — ours and the eventual “theirs.”
The 2023 rendition of Undercurrents ran from Feb. 8–10, ten days of both English and French theatre. The festival is produced by Ottawa Fringe and hosted at Arts Court (at 2 Daly Ave, just steps away from U of O campus).