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Pale Blue Dot

The climate. The Voyager. Our Planet. A revolution will save us. Or will it?
A Production inspired by the works and life of Carl Sagan.

A play by Andrea Brunello
With Andrea Brunello
Directed by Christian Di Domenico
Scenes Roberto Abbiati
Supervision on philosophical matters Enrico Piergiacomi
Music composed and played by Enrico Merlin
Costumes Patrizia Caggiati
Artistic support Salvatore Crisà
With the technical support of Roberto Tiella / Fondazione Bruno Kessler

In collaboration with The Physical Science Communication Laboratory of the Physics Department of the University of Trento (Italy) and the University of Bordeaux and with the support of IdEx Bordeaux and research centers IRSTEA and Labex COTE (University of Bordeaux - France)

An amazing story of hope, wonder, beauty and despair. The destiny of the space probe Voyager 1 entwines with that of its suicidal creator, that of his dreamer son and that of Planet Earth. As the spacecraft gets farther away from the solar system, everything falls into prospective, it becomes painfully clear that our little Pale Blue Dot, the Earth, is the most precious of spaceships and it needs to be protected with no hesitation and no compromise.

Why are we not fixing it? Are we not “engineered” to do it? Have we not the intelligence?

But when it all seems lost, an amazing revolution seems to take place. It is draconian and necessary. The fatalistic sense of inevitability is lifted from our souls and our social structure is forever changed for the better.

But did it happen really? Could it happen really? Or is it just utopia, a wishing tale that needs to be told and then sent to Voyager 1 so that it can keep a last, final relic of a civilisation that may as well have reached its end?

Target Audience and Language:

The play is for an audience 15 years old and up and is available in English and in Italian.

Writer’s notes:

Pale Blue Dot is probably my most urgent, pressing, and in many ways “difficult” play. It is difficult because it is so urgent it hurts. The issue of climate change is fantastically pressing and yet a significantly large part of society is still able to negate the evidence of science. Many world leaders are unable to tackle the issue with the necessary concern. It seems to me that too many people, especially among the ruling class, are hiding their head in the sand.
When one looks at the Earth from outer space, one sees a beautiful blue marble ball, a fragile ecosystem enormously delicate. The atmosphere is but a very thin layer of gas, and that is all that protects us from the absolute hell of outer space. Until just a few thousand years ago, humans were nothing but animals like all others, frail, somewhere in the middle of the food chain, and always in danger of being wiped out. Look at us now: we have conquered the Earth in every aspect, we have eliminated an enormous number of other species and we are generating what scientists call the Anthropocene, the era of mass extinction caused by humans. All of this in the blinking of an eye compared to the time frame of our planet. We are the asteroid that can change the face of the Earth. As a matter of fact we have already changed it!

That is why the play Pale Blue Dot is so pressing, for me. Because it puts all of these issues into perspective: the ugly and the beautiful, the sin and the glory... humans are able to send ships to Mars and Enceladus and Pluto and at the same time we are unable to fully accept human caused climate change. We are the sublime and the rotten. We are heading towards disaster.

Yet... there is hope. There are solutions. But these have to go through fundamental rules of acceptance: acceptance of science, acceptance of widespread sacrifice for a common good, acceptance that the way we have lived until now is not sustainable, acceptance that we must become lighter, slower, more profound in our approach to life. Today’s adults are not willing to achieve this acceptance, but children will have to. A few years from now, they will look back at us and wonder why it took us so long to make the change. But change will happen. Let’s just hope we give our children enough time and means to do make the necessary changes.

On a final note, “Pale Blue Dot” is really a very famous picture of the Earth as seen from 6 billion kilometres away by Voyager 1 in February 1990. Here’s what Carl Sagan wrote about it: “Look again at that dot, that’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there -- on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” Our Pale Blue Dot is so beautiful it hurts. (Andrea Brunello)

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