I Don’t Know What to Do, VAULT Festival

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by Isabel Becker

New artistic company Creative Destruction bring forward a pertinent interrogation of the hypocrisies behind the climate crisis movement in their entertaining and moving play. Despite the laziness of the production’s title, which sounds like a draft idea that never quite made it to review (the play is still a work in progress), Zoe Lafferty’s autobiographical story of the 2019 climate protests certainly takes ownership of the theatre as a powerful vehicle for social change.

The play follows the true events of last year’s environmental protests and traces her journey from ignorance to understanding. Lafferty and Waleed Akhtar, the show’s creators, comically mock the overwhelming white middle-class demographic of both the Extinction Rebellion (XR) organisational team and the supporting masses. Compulsory dance breaks and yoga-vegan-wellness during XR head office meetings give us a familiar frame of reference from which to compare the likes of these people (clue given: Glastonbury!), but Lafferty’s piece cuts through to the heart of this movement’s issue. In querying XR’s famously disruptive protests and their achievement of getting the police to cooperate, Lafferty, whilst seeing that non-white people in the UK (particularly young black men) get racially profiled and targeted on the streets by police, points out: “What group of people could organise crime and have the audacity to let the police know about it?”.

The play really is a creative imagining of Lafferty’s mental journey. She retells the clash or her commitment to this movement with her relationship with her boyfriend, who lives in a Palestinian refugee camp and whom she barely sees. We learn about the immense sacrifices she has made and the difficulties she is subsequently facing every single day. The reminder that this story is in fact entirely true is incredible moving; hats off to Lafferty for being so open on the stage – all whilst not actually being an actor by trade, but a director. This is not an intellectually stimulating piece of art that leaves the audience wowed or even wanting more, but rather an account of something deeply personal and relevant that deserves to be shared. And that, to some, is more than enough.

I Don’t Know What To Do runs through 31 January.

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