Of singing rabbits and Indiana Jones: An Earth Day Retrospective

Earth Day, 1990: The 20th anniversary of the Earth Day celebration. It was kind of a big deal because the world wasn’t so eco-friendly or eco-smart back in those days, but we were starting to try a little harder, and making some progress. And at my high school, for some unknown reason, the Adults in Charge let me write and direct a series of short plays commemorating the occasion, and these were then (even more astonishing) performed before the entire student body.

I actually dusted off and tinkered with one of those plays several years later, and it was selected for performance as part of the Western Kentucky Playwrights Festival in Murray. It featured two teen boys, best friends since childhood, but polar opposites in personality, talking about how one boy had knocked up his girlfriend. There were liberal political statements galore in both the Earth Day, and later the Festival versions of that play. Most not particularly subtle, because well…I’m not. I wish I could find the script for it. Both times it was performed, the actors portraying the characters did great, as memory served, and really brought my story to life. That remains one of my proudest moments as a writer.

Then, of course, we had the “main show,” a satirical piece which, as memory serves, had a princess, a bunch of singing rabbits, a witty narrator who lipsynced Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al”, and Indiana Jones, barreling onstage from the back of the packed auditorium to the blaring sound of the iconic theme music. Yeah, it didn’t make a lot of sense, and I probably violated all kinds of copyright laws. But the crowd enjoyed it. LOL, that, too, remains a pretty proud moment.

And that’s what why Earth Day always makes me smile.

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