RESPONSE: Rime of the Ancient Mariner
How the Little Eggs Collective invites us to think differently about pollution and performance
By Brianna McCarthy
“All liveth well, who loveth well / Both man and bird and beast.”
Playwave’s own Nicole Pingon and I have quite often found ourselves pondering theatre and environmentalism; how the two can be bridged and what role the body plays in storytelling. In our spare time, we often speculate that theatre breaks away from text and dialogue to see bodies speak of and to the things that are more than human. Little did I know, as the months were passing, Nicole and the Little Eggs Collective were working to do just that.
Little Eggs brought life and energy to what already existed in Coleridge’s epic poem, not only through their own bodies, but by giving space for other matter to perform. There’s something more than articulable or logical in the awesome sight of white sand falling through dancing toes. Shining a tiny star-like LED light from one’s hand while singing voices fill the space said something more to me than black text on white paper could. It spoke to the body, to the gut and to the empathetic heart. It was in this emotional place that it invited us to consider the way that we treat our locus, not through counting bottles consumed each year but rather through feeling the aliveness of space and matter.
I’ve been asking myself how we can make theatre about more than human matters. How can we include animals and the earth in our recreations of the world on stage? Today I learned that it can be achieved not only through representation, but embodiment. This show speaks to the notion that what we have the most in common with a glorious albatross, and that the moving tides are indeed our shared experience of physicality and having a body. The collective brought their spirit into the space by dancing and singing like all these players do. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, so this embodiment offered respect and love for non-humans for us to feel.
The show spoke through breath, body, matter and energy in a million ways before it spoke through words. This meant that a stage strewn with plastic bags and bottles did not only symbolise a prevalent debate of our consumption habits. The destructiveness of plastic pollution, as it appeared with the curses of misfortune, was felt.
The Little Eggs Collective have truly made use of all that theatre can do to us and is creating an innovative, dynamic and communicative experience for audiences. I appreciate what they’re bringing and urge every reader to see this before they do anything else.