By Hannah Halusker
ON WEEKDAY MORNINGS IN FEBRUARY 2019, Something Very Fishy occurred at the Pickens Performing Arts Center.
The stage featured an underwater scene of the ocean floor, complete with a colorful display of corals and deep-sea rocks, where two puppets — Octavia the Octopus and Boss the Great White Shark — were being operated by human actors. A blue glow emanated into the audience, highlighting an auditorium full of awestruck elementary schoolers and the teachers and chaperones who brought them.
Then the lighting transitioned. The underwater scene turned yellow, and Octavia and Boss began to despair. A reckless fisherman had left barrels of oil and gas near his boat, and an overnight storm had knocked them into the ocean. Earlier, the same fisherman forgot to clean up his supplies, and a young seal in the reef, Sunny, had mistaken a fishing hook for a treat and was rushed to a local marine hospital. A heat wave engulfed Boss and Octavia, and they began to scramble, searching for colder, more comfortable water amid their destructed habitat that was now littered with trash.
“People are the ones who got us into this mess in the first place. How will they ever know that we need help to get out of it?” Octavia cried.
A few scenes later, Sandy, a marine biologist, entered center stage. She sat down with the fisherman, and after a bit of scolding, she broke into song to educate him on the small changes he could make to be more protective of the environment.
“Reduce is the first step — remember to use less. Say no to plastic bags when you’re in the store. Instead, use fabric ones; they fit so much more!” Sandy sings. “Reuse is the second step — use the same thing again. Separate your trash, recycle it — turn it into something new.”
Created by a team of scientists, artists, and students from Educational Entertainment LLC and Clemson University, the show was part of an innovative outreach program that exemplifies the best of what can happen when science and art collide.
Trackbacks & Pingbacks
[…] Something Very Fishy follows the lives of Sandy Carson, a young science major conducting coral transplanting research, and Mr. Stu Pidder, a local fisherman just trying to get by. Below the surface, Boss the Great White Shark and his friends are wondering why marine life is disappearing and curious objects keep arriving. […]
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