Monday Night PlayGround
Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival
October 17, 2016 at 8pm
performing at Berkeley Repertory Theatre


There will be a free pre-show panel discussion with members of Planet Earth Arts and several of the playwrights at 7:10pm on October 17.

Additional background material on this month's topic.

Thomas Berry and the Great Work

Brian Swimme

Center for the Story of the Universe

Call Of Life - Facing The Mass Extinction (TRT 80 mins)

What Are Animals Thinking & Feeling – TED Talk by
Carl Safina (TRT 19 mins)

Fish Have Feelings, Too: The Inner Lives of Our ‘Underwater Cousins’

New Scientific Journal on Animal Feelings Launches

The Sixth Extinction: A Conversation With Elizabeth Kolbert
Humanity's "most enduring legacy" will be our effect on the rest of life on Earth.

How to Save Life on Earth, According to E. O. Wilson

Reflections by Neal Rogin, Planet Earth Arts Co-Curator & Artist-in-Residence
We are standing at a crossroads, a point of choice between the Probable Future on one hand, and the Possible Future on the other. The Probable Future is the future we can see is predictable from the trajectory we are on, If we do nothing, if we assume we are merely passengers, spectators, witnesses. If we do not ourselves ACT. The future minus our intervention is the probable future. Islands of opulence in an ocean of misery. Thousands living in luxury and billions in poverty. Where the military might of the rich is used simply to control the anguish of the poor.

Our other choice is the Possible Future. We have touched the very beginnings of that future. it is a future of justice for all, and sufficiency for all. It is a future of expanding workability and environmental sanity. A reconciliation in the relationship between humans and each other, and between humans and the Earth, a reunion of humanity with nature. It is the future that is attainable, but only if we take action. Only if we wrest it from the sky, reach out and make it ours. We need to achieve that future. It will not be delivered unto us. We have to go get it.

This is not unprecedented. We ourselves are living in the Possible Future that was gifted to us by our parents and grandparents. They who set aside their personal lives to take up arms in resistance to the dark and cruel world that was looming out of the axis of Fascist Germany and Imperial Japan. We are the beneficiaries of the legacy of light and freedom that they won for us. They saw the trajectory of the world toward fascism, and made the choice to ACT.

We live in the future they made for us. A precious gift bestowed upon us at tremendous cost and sacrifice. What then is our responsibility, not only to our children, but also to our forebears? That was their Great Work. This is ours.
? Neal Rogin

There is a red alert on Spaceship Earth. No one can deny the evidence anymore. Even those among us who until now could afford to insulate ourselves from the signs of a global emergency, are feeling the undeniable effects of what is surely a perfect storm of environmental decline, social upheaval and impending economic collapse.

Could we possibly be facing the end of the world as we know it? Thankfully, Yes. We are.

But before we panic and run for our lives, let's define what we mean by "the World." By "the World' we do not mean the planet — this miraculous island of life so perfectly placed in a sea of nothingness. Over the course of its 4.5 billion year life span, it has survived asteroids, comets, volcanic eruptions and countless other large and small cataclysms and catastrophes. It may take some time, but it will most likely survive us.

No, by "the World" we mean the network of conversations, agreements and relationships that make up modern human culture. We mean the human, industrialized world, the thrust and trajectory of what we call human history, where we live and work and have our being. "The World" is the combined experience of all the people who have ever lived put into a collective story that explains who we are and how we got here. We don't tell that story, we live it, or more precisely, we live from it. It is the context that shapes and limits our outcomes and defines our achievements. It is the primary factor in determining the boundaries of human possibility. It is the unquestioned context for what it means to be a person. Another word for it is our worldview.

Lately, that story, that context for humanity, that worldview, added to and reinforced by generation after generation, is coming up against realities that it can no longer explain or contain. The interpretation of reality which our story gives rise to — literally the world as we know it — is coming to an end. Hooray.
? Neal Rogin

Sabbaths VI

The yellow-throated, the highest remotest voice

of this place, sings in the tops of the tallest sycamores,

but one day he came twice to the railing of my porch

where I sat at work above the river. He was too close

to see with binoculars. Only the naked eye could take him in,

a bird more beautiful than every picture of himself,

more beautiful than himself killed and preserved

by the most skilled taxidermist, more beautiful

than any human mind, so small and inexact

could hope to remember. My mind became

beautiful by the sight of him. He had the beauty only

of himself alive in the only moment of his life.

He had upon him like a light the whole

beauty of the living world that never dies.
- Wendell Berry

O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
the doting

fingers of
prurient philosophies pinched
and poked

has the naughty thumb
of science prodded

beauty how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy
knees squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

to the incomparable
couch of death thy

thou answerest
them only with

e. e. cummings