Another Kind of Silence
Enviromentalist writer brought to compelling life
This article is from 2008.
If the environmental movement in the US has a progenitor and figurehead it is marine biologist and nature writer Rachel Carson. Her writing and research in the late 1950s/early 1960s brought attention to the then unfashionable issue of conservation, most famously the problems caused by synthetic pesticides.
This one-woman show, written and performed with steely gusto and control by Liz Rothschild revisits the life and times of this remarkable woman. Rothschild traces Carson's journey from a contented outdoors loving Pennsylvanian childhood through her work as a biologist for the US Bureau of Fisheries, the publication of her bestselling books, her testimony to the US Congressional Committee on pesticides to her death in 1964.
Director Sue Mayo's production is pitched just right and Carson's scholastic, spinsterish traits are well represented by the rusticity of the set, which is well realised by designer Sue Condie. Sound designer Joseph Young also does a great job with the fragile soundscape of birdsong.
As undeniably wordy and worthy as this is (and as her subject necessitates), it is to Rothschild's credit that you leave the auditorium determined to invest in Carson's collected works.
Hill Street Theatre, 226 6522, until 24 Aug, 3.40pm, £9-£10 (£7-£8).