The Real Midgley

blog 10 midgelyJaakko Hutchings portrays Dr. Midgley in Orange Alert’s short play Global Burning. His character, however, is not entirely fictitious and is based on the very real Dr. Thomas Midgley, who is (half-) jokingly dubbed by the scientific community as “the single organism in Earth's history with the most detrimental impact on the atmosphere.”

If you're wondering whether Dr. Midgley really deserves such fame, just consider the following: in the 1920s, he introduced lead to gasoline, with the very practical aim of reducing engine noise. Cars became much quieter and lead poisoning much more frequent. Way to go Midgley!

Our doctor doesn’t stop there. A decade later, he has a leading role in the team that discovers freon, amongst other similar compounds. You have to give credit where credit’s due – very few people can boast that they contributed to literally punching a hole in the sky.

blog 10 JHThrough the years, Dr. Midgley tirelessly continues to make the world a better place, with inventions and other personal contributions. For example, he was a fervent proponent for women to take up smoking.

I’ll leave to you to find out about how he dies. If nothing else, at least there is some small measure of poetic justice there. Geez, that man….

Tex: Vladislav Nenchev
Jaakko portrait: Jaakko Hutchings
Midgley portrait: wikipedia.org

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The Forgotten Victim

Baida Embarec Rahal“In recent decades, there has been a lot of news concerning armed conflicts in the world. We usually focus on the shocking numbers of human victims or on the destruction of material properties. But what about the environment? Do we imagine that our planet could be moaning from the intensity of the damage and from the pain and chaos that wars create? Who wins and who loses if trees are cut down and wildlife disappears due to armed conflicts?”

Those are the questions raised by Baida Embarec Rahal as she shares her story with the audience of Orange Alert. Baida speaks of one of the oldest and largest separation walls in the world – the sepa\ration berm in Western Sahara, and with how it impacts the surrounding environment. The area is a former colony of Spain, which was occupied by Morocco and whose indigenous inhabitants have been demanding the right to self-determination since the mid-seventies.

the wallThe first two nights of Orange Alert feature the story of Baida and her homeland. This is a story of how the victims of wars go beyond just the human kind, and of how those victims are so often forgotten.

Text: Baida Embarec Rahal
Portrait: Anni Taponen
Berm photo: Remove the Wall

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Everything Burns

Modern industry strides with an unstoppable impetus, spawning technologies and products on a daily basis. HoloGrand is one of the newest, and by far the brightest star in the high-tech sky. Their novel methods for smelting and casting polarized screens have punched a massive whole in the market, launching a craze for the holographic gadgets created via those screens. The company’s own HoloPad™ has sold millions during the past month alone. Following their rise in success and profit, HoloGrand has established a brand new, heavily robotized facility in Bluefields, Nicaragua. The plant relentlessly expels an ever-increasing amount of produce... and smoke.

blog 8 SP DE 1

We cast ourselves to a small room within the underground floors of the factory. There a table hosts an uneasy meeting between a couple of HoloGrand’s executive officers and an infiltrator from the action wing of the environmental group Greenwolves.

The ensuing interrogation grows in passion, from an edgy standoff to a heated argument. Questions and accusations will fall on both sides of the table:

Global Burning“Who is your target?”Global Burning

“What are our crimes?”

 

What is the favourite new school
subject of third graders in Nicaragua?

 

How does physics work?

Or rather… how doesn’t it?

 

And most important of all:
Who will be devoured in the end?

 

Legal disclaimer: 
No environmentalists or executives were harmed in the making of this play.

Text: Vladislav Nenchev
Photos: Anni Taponen

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Splash in Your Backyard Pool

Your Backyard Pool is one of the theatrical pieces in Orange Alert’s programme, written by Matias Kylliäinen and Mikael Kivimäki, and performed by Mikael Kivimäki and Marietta Chela. It dives into a pool of comedy, bang in the middle of a sea of troubles.

Your Backyard Pool a sketch about a Bear who sticks to his beliefs maybe a bit too hard. Lucky for us there is a Rabbit who´s trying to put some sense into bear’s head. Can the Rabbit pull it through?

bear and rabbit 1bear and rabbit 2

“We truly believe that comedy is a great way to affect people’s beliefs. Comedic characters tend to exaggerate certain parts in humans and their personalities. When you give your comedic character some bad personality traits, for example selfishness and a short-tempered mind, it’s a great way to mirror your own personality and behaviour through the character and its actions,” say the cast and creators.

“Well, my beliefs are against your facts,” says the Bear.

As an added bonus, this sketch unites mother and son on stage, to both their and our delight. The family bond does not prevent them in any way from depicting two opposing sides of the food chain.

Don’t miss this pearl of comedy on each night of Orange Alert. Don’t miss seeing mother and son on stage. Don’t miss hearing the Bear roar.

blog 7 all three

Text: Matias Kylliäinen, Mikael Kivimäki & Marietta Chela
Photos: Anni Taponen

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Amber Alert

John LeoJohn Leo delivers another poetic salvo in Orange Alert’s barrage of acts. He will be performing three lyrical pieces that aim straight at the heart. Here's how the author describes his contribution to Orange Alert:

“I have the great privilege of performing three of my own poems in the Finn-Brit Players’ Orange Alert Climate Reality Show. The first poem, Painful Ends, is a critique of human aggression and self-centredness, and is a call to remain faithful to the earth.

rainstormThe second poem, The August Thunder, describes the disruption caused by a very heavy rainstorm over Helsinki (August, 2011) and is a critique of human self-importance. The third poem, Spring Light, is a tribute to our wondrous earth, where we live, move, and have our being.”

You can experience John Leo’s moving poems at every show of the run. Those are three shots of theatrical performance that are worth taking.

 

Text: John Leo
Portrait: Anni Taponen
Flood photo: Eija Ristimäki

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Enter Spritelies

blog 5 MBFThe celebration of music in Orange Alert continues with a trio of very talented performers: Tony Shaw is in charge of string instruments of all kinds, John Millar is the master of the winds, and Mira Berglund-Fitzpatrick will weave beautiful vocals.

Tony and John have supported Mira in the past, with musical interludes and backings for Mira in poetry mode. In Orange Alert, Mira sings! This is the third time they will be performing in this configuration, and even if "all forms are empty of self-existence", the trio deserves a name.

So, meet the Spritelies!

“We will perform two pieces: a re-worded-by-Tony classic, and an original awkward piece by John. The original is called The Only Home for Humans after we decided, for marketing reasons, that we couldn’t call it the Awkward Song. As always, we have had great fun – ‘so comfortable and easy to work together’ – spring to mind as comments throughout this rehearsal period, despite the grave themes touched on in the Awkward So.. oops, The Only Home for Humans.”

Songs is not all they bring to the show. Tony and John will display their skills in an amazing array of instruments. Here are a few sneak peeks in the streams of consciousness of the musicians, as they describe the four instrumentals they will perform:

blog 5 TS JM Rain, rhythm, chaos is based on a rhythmic idea Tony gleaned from his rich life of strumming and listening. The way that is implemented and whatever John will add to the mix is hard to predict!

Trying to Bounce: Tony came up with a riff, which suggested a flute melody to John, who was persuaded by Adrian Goldman to learn the flute in the 2019 production of Falsettos. This is still a work in progress, hence the “Trying” in the song title.

Blue strain. Tony lays out a laid back Blues progression on guitar, which is pleasant indeed, but then John will add some strain with an instrument he played in his misspent youth, and resurrected for the aforementioned musical in 2019…

Rain, rhythm, chaos (revisited): Tony on modified Portuguese guitar, and all h*ll will break loose on sax!

As you can see, their performance is half composition, half improvisation, and half brilliance. They only way to truly know what they are going to do, is to witness them in person. You will have a chance for that in all four nights of Orange Alert.

Text: Tony Shaw, John Millar & Mira Berglund-Fitzpatrick
Photos: Anni Taponen

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Madness, Shimmering

DilianaDiliana Stoyanova joins Orange Alert with a word and sound caboodle that came out of reading too much during quarantine, and buying sound equipment instead of alcohol. Both the soundscape and the poems are her own creation.

Diliana is a Bulgarian-Finnish spoken-word and sound poet, and PhD candidate based in Helsinki. A 2019 Finnish national slam finalist and an avid online slammer, she writes to take ownership of her own narrative.

Her poetry moto is “Sometimes I do the words, and sometimes the words do me.”

Diliana is performing during two of Orange Alert’s shows – on Friday 19 and Sunday 21 November. Book one of those two dates to behold her mastery in word and sound alchemy.

Text & photo: Diliana Stoyanova

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