• Amy Toledano

I Don't Know What To Do presented by Creative Destruction

What Is It?

The new work in progress from Creative Destruction, created and performed by Zoe Lafferty and Waleed Akhtar, comes to the VAULT Festival.

What Is It About?

The world is in turmoil - as it always is, one way or another - but the urgency of the climate crisis has gripped the world as environmental activists like Extinction Rebellion bring major cities, including London, to a standstill with marches and sit-ins. This autobiographical piece follows director and producer Zoe Lafferty’s journey through the trials and tribulations of her experiences with the environmentalist movement and its impact on her personal life. Along with the acting talents of Waleed Akhtar, Lafferty brings her, at times, unbelievable story to life as she tackles the hypocrisies, flaws and best intentions of the environmental movement in this hour long piece.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

The current climate crisis is something that everyone, unless you’ve been living under a rock, is painfully aware of, and the associated fear and guilt that we aren’t doing enough will be a familiar feeling to many. This well executed work in progress taps into many of these feelings.

Lafferty and Akhtar portray the almost farcical story of Lafferty’s experiences with Extinction Rebellion with pinpoint precision. The awkwardness of the predominantly white middle-class contingent of the rebellion is revealed through careful crafting of scenes which Lafferty reflects on in direct address to the audience. Though comedic in its nature, this is an impacting piece of political theatre that with every laugh demands an evaluation of ones privilege, especially white privilege. As we see the environmental movement Lafferty was witness to hijacked by predominantly white male individuals, the show calls into question the structural prejudices that run rampant through our society, asking us to evaluate how any protest can be successful without also considering the wider issues of race, class and gender in our country.

Yet, for all the comedy and satire of particularly problematic characters, it is the relationship between Lafferty and her Palestinian husband, Ahmed Tobasi, that brings the emotional weight of the piece to a head. We see the injustices placed upon them personally and upon the wider Palestinian people through little snippets that interplay with Lafferty’s environmentalist narrative. This reality checking grounds the struggles Lafferty faces, and indeed the realisation that her actions through her environmental activism may mean she cannot see her husband for an undefined period of time is powerfully felt. The consequences of ones actions are a key theme to this piece, and they are cleverly crafted into an emotionally evocative narrative.

Anything Else?

This is a very slickly performed piece of political theatre, and considering that it is a work-in-progress highlights the talent of its performers - with the polish of further reworking and fine tuning, this already powerful piece could be even more extraordinary.

Alexandra x

I Don't Know What To Do is playing at the Network Theatre until the 31st January 2020.

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