contributed by BIANCA REYES
“Burning” is a solo performance based on how human actions affect the earth and our environment, written and performed by Heather Harpham and presented in Manhattanville’s Little Theater last Wednesday night. This campus event was organized by Manhattanville’s Dance and Theater Department and the Campus Sustainability Committee. The performance inspired activism in more than a few members of the audience. Freshman Abbi Parenteau proclaimed, “The statement ‘to understand and protect the home planet’ is now forever with me.” Many members of the audience expressed regret for some of their own actions at the end of the show. For example, a few students that attended the show admitted to their laziness as an excuse for not recycling.
Another member of the audience, student Natalia Corpora, said, “Burning was not criticizing the audience. Rather, the purpose of the show was to make us think about our actions and how they will affect our environment and our future.”
Although the show was a bit comical at times, the topic is still a serious issue. For example, Harpham discusses time as a major topic of discussion and also mentions how George Bush had eight years to fix things and improve our planet, but failed to do so. Her response to global warming and the deteriorating environment we live in was just one simple phrase, in which she compared it to a child taking blame for an accident— “I broke it!” We only have ourselves to blame for the world that we live in today.
Heather Harpham is an acclaimed solo performer, as well as a professor. Professor Harpham teaches creative process and introduction to acting here at Manhattanville, and received her MFA in Theater and an MA in Creative Writing at New York University. Harpham stated after her performance: “It was a joy to perform at Manhattanville where there is such a fertile and diverse field of artistic talent in both the students and the professional dance/theater artists who work here.” Harpham added in her post-performance comment, “We had a lively discussion about how to best find ways to involve our local and larger community in the project of ‘sustainability’ as a whole.”