Once There Were Six Seasons

Glass Half Full Theatre employs puppets to show us a series of visions of the Earth transformed by climate change

Courtesy of Glass Half Full Theatre

Salvage Vanguard Theater, 2803 Manor Rd., 512/474-7886
Through June 7
Running time: 1 hr., 5 min.

Imagine a rebellious French teenager, brooding in her bedroom while listening to Hank Williams. Such a scene seems to capture certain moments in this beautiful art exhibit sprung to life, Once There Were Six Seasons, the latest from Glass Half Full Theatre. Although the company might well be called Glass Half Empty this go-round, for its pessimistic view of life on Earth in the year 2048 is sobering, to say the least. Yet is it pessimism or merely logical fatalism to suggest that if we keep going on about our business in the usual ways vis-à-vis ravaging the planet ... we're screwed? These guys aren't subtle in delivering their message.

Episodic, Six Seasons is a series of future visions, separated by an ongoing conversation between an offstage consumer in need of an SVX chip and the customer service agent she begs to help her. Due to an apparent shortage – and, it seems, in an attempt to delay and distract her – he brings up several scenes in her "info stream." Among the settings are the jungles of Malawi, a canal in Venice, and a vibrant Texas farm turned desolate drill site. The references to geographic "zones" and lines like "It's important that no one opt out" put viewers in familiar territory as these sorts of dehumanizing elements often feature prominently in science fiction.

Audience members who come to the theatre expecting a conventional experience with lots of dramatic tension and a linear story may walk away scratching their heads. However, those in attendance on the night I was there were unwavering in their passion for the material. Long meditations punctuated by foreign languages? No problem.

Undoubtedly, they were responding to the several gorgeous, movable set-pieces courtesy of Artistic Director Caroline Reck, along with guest artists Amanda Maddock and Taylor Harrison. From tropical paradise to industrial wasteland, these diverse worlds are inhabited by tiny puppets (human, avian, bovine, and otherwise). The deliciously intoxicating soundscapes, created by K. Eliot Haynes of Trouble Puppet fame, are of a similar, sky-aimed caliber.

This week, I made the decision to move to the north side of the river for the first time in 17 years, and an old friend's spouse announced plans to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Although embracing reality in its various mutations is a sign of strength, sometimes it is only natural for change to rock you to your core. When one character in this show laments that "I just want things to go on as they are," another remarks that "perhaps this is the one wish that unites all the zones." Nerve struck. Universal truth: Change is disorienting. In this case, climate change – both literally and figuratively – will take your breath away.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Austin theatre
Valoneecia Tolbert Geeks Out in <i>Tales of a Blerd Ballerina</i>
Valoneecia Tolbert Geeks Out in Tales of a Blerd Ballerina
The actress looks back at what it was to be young, geeky, and Black

Robert Faires, April 9, 2021

Examining the Sins and Virtues of Hypermasculine Theatre
Examining the Sins and Virtues of Hypermasculine Theatre
When is violence in theatre too much?

Shanon Weaver, Dec. 9, 2016

More Arts Reviews
Review: City Theatre Tackles a Nineties Relic
Review: City Theatre Tackles a Nineties Relic
Solid performances can’t save The Twilight of the Golds from its datedness

Cat McCarrey, Feb. 16, 2024

Review: Juan Luís Jardí’s “Tiempo Sostenido” Clocks in With Eerie Power
Review: Juan Luís Jardí’s “Tiempo Sostenido” Clocks in With Eerie Power
The Barcelona-based artist is doing time at Wally Workman Gallery

Wayne Alan Brenner, Feb. 16, 2024

More by Stacy Alexander Smith
We Play Chekhov: Two Short Stories on Stage
Breaking String's two-course meal of Chekhov tales proves both meaty and effervescent

Aug. 22, 2014

Playwright / actor Rupert Reyes pays tribute to his father and the pull of the past in this sweet comic romance

Aug. 15, 2014


Once There Were Six Seasons, Austin theatre, Glass Half Full Theatre, Caroline Reck, K. Eliot Haynes, Amanda Maddock, Taylor Harrison, climate change

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle