Edinburgh Fringe 2022 
Interview

You're Safe Til 2024: Deep History
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Finnigan
David
Venue:  Pleasance Courtyard - The Green
Aug 3-8, 10-22, 24-29, 19:45 /  Tickets
Aug 3, 2022

In the last hours of 2019, David Finnigan's best friend prepared to make a break for home with his family before fires cut off the highway. As Australia was hit by the worst fires in the country's recorded history, an area the size of England burned and one billion animals were incinerated. Written over the last three days of the decade, as David's friends and family raced to evacuate amid the devastation, Deep History is the story of 75,000 years of human history and 75 hours of brutal consequences.

 

Hi David thank you for talking to The New Current, how does it feel to heading to Edinburgh Fringe after everything that has happened?

 

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Will there be any nerves ahead of your UK Premiere at the Pleasance Courtyard?

 

Look, things don't start getting fun until they start going wrong, so: yes, always.

 

In 2019 Time Out Australia said “Finnigan’s earnestness captures the numb despair of modern climate anxiety in a poignant, but not too overwhelming way.” What does it mean to you to get this type of praise and acknowledgement for your show?

 

I mean, it's very flattering, but at the same time, we're all in the same boat in terms of wrapping our heads around climate and global change. What makes this kind of work interesting is that you get a group of people together in a room who are all processing these huge questions around our transforming planet - and they're all going through it in different ways, and at different points on that journey.

 

So I think a work like this just meets an audience where they're at - if you're feeling overwhelmed, it might be overwhelming. If you're feeling angry, it might inspire anger. But no matter what, there's something very affecting in sitting with those feelings with a group of other humans for an hour. Can I call it healing?

 

Can you tell me a little bit about You’re Safe Til 2024: Deep History, what made you want to create a show around climate change?

 

Most of my work is in collaboration with climate and earth scientists. I'm a consultant for the World Bank on climate and disaster risk and I collaborate with research institutions and universities on this topic - it's actually a rare privilege to get to present work in an arts festival context.

 

This show is the story of three days at the end of the last decade, when my hometown of Canberra in Australia was hit by a pretty severe environmental event. And that's all I'll say on that.

 

During the research for this show what were some of the key factors / reasons you discovered for the continued growth of climate change deniers?

 

Oh man, I made a whole show about this - imma link you to that, because I feel like I'd be condensing a whole half-decade of work into a few lines - best just have a read: killclimatedeniers.com

"You and I are about to be the first generation of humanity to witness 8 billion human beings alive at once, and the last generation to exist with rhinos in the wild."

But it’s not just random people with 5 Twitter followers. A lot of the denial comes from politicians and corporations all over the world. What are the biggest challenges climate change activists face in trying to convince these bodies to act?

 

This is a great question with a lot of different answers - but I think it's worth noting that we have had a massive shift in the conversation in the last 3-4 years. In the late 2010s, we were still confront traditional climate denial. In the early 2020s, we're now faced with more sophisticated greenwashing, where companies and governments acknowledge the problem and promise to address it - but don't match those promises with meaningful action. This is a new phase of the struggle, and in some ways a much harder and more complex one.

 

Has You’re Safe Til 2024: Deep History changed much since you premiered it in 2019?

 

I cannot tell you! In some ways nothing in the work has changed, in other ways everything is different. This is a big part of the piece.

 

Where did your passion for theatre and and climate politics come from?

 

I mean, it's pretty wild to be living through this moment in the planet's history, right? You and I are about to be the first generation of humanity to witness 8 billion human beings alive at once, and the last generation to exist with rhinos in the wild. It's an extraordinary time to be alive - brutal, sad, infuriating - but also, we've got a big job in front of us. We're trying to build a new world - a sustainable, just world - in the ruins of the old, while being hit by escalating shocks, in the face of organised opposition. It's not what any of us would have chosen, but at least we know what our purpose is.

 

What one word would best describes this show?

 

A romp. A romp!

And finally, what has been the most important lesson you have taken away from writing and performing You’re Safe Til 2024: Deep History?

 

That when humans arrived in Britain for the first time, there were hippopotamuses living in the river Thames.