Lost at Sea
Teenagers oceans apart are brought together by climate change in this enjoyable new play
There’s no more evocative and terrifying image of climate change and the selfish wastefulness of humanity than that of the Great Pacific garbage patch, a swirling vortex of plastic and rubbish swirling around a great gyre somewhere in the region of Hawaii.
In this piece for children and young people by the ever-dependable Catherine Wheels, playwright Morna Pearson and director Gill Robertson partly reclaim this image as just one facet of the power of nature and possibility.
Performing in the round on a large map of planet Earth, Ashley Smith and Laurie Brown are a teenage girl and boy on opposite sides of the world. They’re united by 28,000 rubber ducks which were lost at sea, when a shipping container was washed off the deck of a ship sailing out of Hong Kong in 1992.
The boy’s life is marked by migration and movement, from the Highlands of Scotland to Australia (where his mother died and her ashes were cast into Byron Bay), before moving to Alaska and finally Hawaii. In Hawaii he finds 98 of the ducks washed ashore, earning unwanted media fame as ‘Duck Boy’.
On the Isle of Harris, meanwhile, the girl yearns to find just one of the ducks on her local beach, researching currents and paths of travel between oceans to determine whether this is even remotely possible.
The scientific lessons are subtly but firmly delivered by two compellingly energetic lead performances (although Brown’s accent is a little distracting), while Pearson fills the space around them with warm reflections on distance and loss.
Reviewed at Summerhall, Edinburgh, Tue 5 Apr. Run ended.