Take a breath. Take another breath. That second breath you took? The oxygen for that comes from our oceans. And our oceans are sick. They are getting sicker by the day.

This is the message that noted environmental journalist Alanna Mitchell brings us in Sea Sick (Carriageworks as part of the Sydney Festival) . Drawn from her work over many years and her award winning book Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis, this theatrical presentation puts meaning into science to present what is, in essence, a horror story. Except, it isn’t fiction.

With a title which reminds me of a sunny day on Sydney harbour where I lay on the deck, so ill I wanted to be thrown overboard and sink to the bottom, Mitchell embarks on her tale.

Like all good scary stories, it starts simply in a simple circle of light. A blackboard. A pitcher of … white vinegar (?). Music by Bob Dylan. Simple and stark but the message is clear. It is not about saving the planet. The planet has seen millions of species come and go and still it exists. It morphs. It changes.  It adapts.  It is not on the path to extinction. The planet does not need us. But we desperately need the planet and in the last 268 years, we have been behaving badly. It is on track to refuse to support us anymore.

This is not political. It is not social. Mitchell in no way blames any one demographic. It is our collective problem, as a species. Her voice is well-modulated. Her story is deceptively linear. We travel with her to all parts of the planet; coral reefs, the bottom of the ocean, universities and towns full of marine biologists. Her unwillingness to be Frodo given the ring to take to Mordor in order to save the world as we know it is amusing. She is not a prophet. She is a storyteller, sharing her scientific discoveries, her journey to make sense of them and the alarming , inevitable consequences.

How is this environmental story any different, you ask. Because the perception is different. It is a whole other angle of viewing. We are not being challenged to save the earth, save the earth or save the planet. We are being urged to save us. This should be mandatory viewing in every classroom, in every Parliament, in every Boardroom.

It is humanity that needs saving. Not the planet. The planet will go on without us.

Kate Stratford – Theatre Now & On The Town

Sea Sick

Science journalist Alanna Mitchell delivers the brutal truth about our oceans

!Book Tickets


19 – 22 Jan 2018



Venue: Carriageworks
Theatre Company: The Theatre Centre

Duration: 75 Min

Did you know that the amniotic fluid that surrounds a baby in the womb is a chemical replica of an ancient sea? That every second breath you take comes courtesy of sea-dwelling plankton?

Award-winning science journalist and author Alanna Mitchell brings to the stage her bestselling book on the challenges facing our oceans, in a powerful one-woman performance.

Renowned for her investigative reporting on science and social trends, Mitchell blends fact, humour and personal anecdotes to explain where our oceans are at, how they got that way, and what we need to do to save them. Join her for this thought-provoking, sometimes frightening, but ultimately hopeful journey 3000 feet beneath the sea.

Make a night of it! Add a Festival Feast at Kindred for just $31 (+bf) to your ticket purchase.

Note: Lockout period applies.

Photo credit: Chloë Ellingson

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