Join Fehinti Balogun on a journey into the world of environmental activism, as he tells the story of how, as a young Black British man, his path has been forever changed by what he's learnt about our planet. Using original hip-hop and spoken word, Can I Live? is an energising and uplifting exploration of the place where the climate emergency and social justice meet, and a call-to-arms to anyone curious about what we can do to help.
Can I Live? is a filmed performance by the world-renowned theatre company, Complicité. Conceived, written and performed by Fehinti Balogun and directed by Daniel Bailey and Co-Directed by Simon McBurney.
The film will be available to watch direct from your home at any point between from Monday 22 (7.30pm) - Sunday 28 November (11.59pm), 2021. You will have 48 hours access to watch the film from the moment you click play on the link.
BOOK YOUR DIGITAL TICKETS HERE ON A PAY WHAT YOU CAN BASIS.
(Thu 25 Nov - A post-film conversation will be released nearer the time).
National Lottery Arts Council England Project Grant and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
Review from The Stage
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “Brilliant and necessary”
Powerful piece of filmed theatre that asks difficult questions about activism and the climate crisis in an empathetic way
Can I Live?, the title of Fehinti Balogun’s brilliant and necessary production, is both a question and a provocation. In a world in which the current level of global warming is having a deleterious effect on Africa, the name of this show can be seen as a binary, where the actions of those watching it and their government’s actions decide the fate of those in the most affected areas. The genius of this piece of filmed theatre is that by blending the personal with the geopolitical, Balogun forces the audience to consider their complicity in the present and ongoing climate crisis.
Balogun’s intimate show looks at how eco-activism, geopolitics, capitalism, race and history intersect. He recalls being at climate protests and meetings and noticing that he stood out as the only person of colour, an observation that is particularly baffling as the worst effects of global warming disproportionately affect people of colour. In investigating this seeming dissonance, Balogun suggests that the climate crisis is a symptom, with modern-day colonialism being the cause.
The creative team – directors Daniel Bailey and Simon McBurney, and dramaturg Kirsty Housley – ensure the show never feels didactic. In this, they are aided by Ash J Woodward’s visual effects which, at times, feel breathtakingly immersive, especially when the stage is transformed into an underwater panorama to show the chilling effects of rising sea temperatures.
Discussions about climate change have been going on for decades. What makes Can I Live? so urgent as a piece of theatre – and its addition to the dialogue so valuable – is how the language of the play is blended with the form. Balogun communicates powerfully through his poetry, singing and spoken word, in a way that is reminiscent of Riz Ahmed’s The Long Goodbye (also directed by Housley), as Balogun communicates directly to the camera as if talking through a camera phone at home. This turns out to be a facade and the fourth wall is pulled away to reveal that the naturalistic set is, in fact, on a stage. It is a subtle touch and a nod to one of the central ideas that runs through the show – the idea that the situation we are living in is not normal.
The show’s resonant ending features the words of the people on the ground, leading in the fight against injustice. Their words are left ringing in the audience’s ears. What stands out most is how focused they are on their communities . After an hour of dire warnings about the future of the planet, it is an oddly soothing ending and a reminder of the importance of perspective.
By Angelo Irving
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