Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Can the tide be reversed?

Activist couple invited by student to perform

Express Staff Writer

Photo by Kevin C Trimmer -Lisa Harrow and Roger Payne.

One person can make a difference. Just ask Amaya Ingram of Shoshone, a senior at The Community School in Sun Valley. After listening to an NPR program about a performance piece called "Sea Change: Reversing the Tide," she e-mailed playwrights Lisa Harrow and Roger Payne to ask if they could perform the play at her school.

With help from Craig Barry of the Environmental Resource Center and The Community School teacher Scott Runkel, Ingram was able to secure the play for two performances. On Monday, Oct. 8, a performance will be held for students at The Community School. Later at 7 p.m. that same night a public performance will be presented at nexStage Theatre in Ketchum. Tickets for the public performance will cost $15 and will be available at the door. After presenting the project to The Community School Parent's Association, Ingram was able to convince the association to pay for the show out of its speaker's fund.

Theater, film and television actress, Harrow and her husband, whale-biologist Payne, created the performance piece to address humanity's interaction with Earth.

In her original e-mail to Harrow and Payne, Ingram wrote, "It is not only a play advocating for change in our culture's mentality of mindless waste and indulgence, but it does so through the use of classic literature."

The couple argues compellingly through poetry and the knowledge of science that humans are not the overseers of life but an integral part of life's complex web. Survival requires that humans recognize and pay attention to well-being of the entire web of life, they say.

Written and performed by Payne and Harrow, "Sea Change" includes the poetry of William Shakespeare, Herman Melville, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Robert Frost, Wendell Berry, Carl Sagan and others.

Harrow also wrote a companion book called, "What Can I Do? An Alphabet for Living." The book is a compendium of useful Web sites that can help the reader start on the path toward sustainable living. There is a Web site of the same name.

During her distinguished career Harrow starred opposite such actors as Peggy Ashcroft, Pierce Brosnan, Peter Coyote, Bruno Ganz, John Gielgud, Elliot Gould, Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Jeremy Irons, Glenda Jackson, Sam Neill, Peter O'Toole, Roger Rees, Patrick Stewart, David Suchet and John Thaw.

Her U.S. theatrical career began in 2000, in New York, when she played Vivian Bearing in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "Wit."

Payne is best known for his discovery—with Scott McVay— that humpback whales sing songs, and for his theory that the sounds of fin and blue whales can be heard across oceans. In 1980, Payne founded Ocean Alliance. One of his articles in National Geographic magazine contained a record of whale sounds for which 10.5 million copies were printed. It's still the largest single print order in the history of the recording industry. He is also the author of "Among Whales" (1995) and three recordings: "Songs of the Humpback Whale" (1970), "Deep Voices," (1975), and "Whales Alive" (1989). Payne holds a knighthood in the Netherlands and a MacArthur Fellowship among other honors and awards.

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