Everyone wants to change something. From how regularly we exercise to how much we let ourselves get distracted by Twitter, we can all work out how we can change such simple problems; but what about when we want to change something much larger, such as an oil company destroying our sea life? Maybe you could occupy an oil rig? Written by performer Daniel Bye, How to Occupy an Oil Rig tells you how to blend in on a march, crash a board meeting, and, most of all, how to occupy an oil rig – should you ever wish to.
On entering the dark space at the Camden People’s Theatre, the audience were greeted by a wall made of enormous Lego blocks. We were also asked by the three performers to take some plasticine and make a miniature version of ourselves, along with writing a placard with our own protest slogan. This was an intriguing and an enjoyable introduction, as a group of adults looked confused, but unusually excited, to be asked to play with plasticine, whilst their faces looked uncomfortably nervous trying to think of the quirkiest or most simple slogan, just in case they were asked to read theirs out.
To begin the show, two slogans were read out, and the creators of the placards in question became the basis of the main characters of the show – fully committed activists, portrayed by the trio, Bye, Kathryn Beaumont and Jack Bennett. This is where we were thrown into an experimental piece of theatre, analysing how to quit your job and become a full-time activist, with narration and witty one-liners. With moments of coming out of character and obvious ad-libs, the whole feeling of the play is welcoming, and the direction by Dick Bonham and Sarah Punshon is cleverly crafted to make you feel as if the people on stage are genuinely concerned about you becoming an activist- whilst watching you wonder how you could reject the time and patience given to you and not become a hard-core protestor. Plus, they made occupying an oil rig seem like an extremely exciting adventure, and for many moments it does not seem that complicated: their deliverance of step-by-step instructions on how to occupy an oil rig with matter-of-fact tones, faking IDs and gaining access to a carrier boat almost seem like baking a cake.
This play genuinely addresses how you could be successful at protests, sit-ins and possibly occupying an oil rig; however, it also addresses how we all want to change something but can get lost in a reality that we want so badly to create that we end up missing the truth. Will the world really change? Can we as individuals genuinely change? Could you occupy an oil rig? Could you make someone who is against everything you believe in genuinely want you? Go see ‘How To Occupy An Oil Rig’ and see if you can find the answer in this bizarre and original piece of theatre.
How to Occupy an Oil Rig is touring until 29 March See Daniel Bye’s website for more information.