A love letter to nature but a warning to protect earth and its creatures – examined by Rachel Carson, a woman whose story has never been told.
When we tend to think about environmentalists – we tend to think of those from the present day such as groups such as Extinct Rebellion and individuals such as Greta Thunberg. But as this absorbing piece highlights – the idea of raising the beauty of nature and how we should be protecting it can be traced further back – through the work of Rachel Carson.
Written by Gus Mitchell, the voice of Rachel Carson (who was a clearly passionate and curious woman) shines through in this mesmerising production breathing new life into her ideas in an experimental way. Yet it is her ideas and thoughts that are the main focus her, with very little personal information delivered.
Throughout, there is a real poetic quality in the way in which everything is described so vividly, enhanced further by the moving images of nature such as the use of close ups of trees and leaves to highlight the beauty of nature – which I’m sure we are all appreciating more of during lockdown.
Directed by Eloïse Poulton, there is a real artistic way in which it has been methodically and calmly brought together, making it a really soothing watch. This is seen in particular during the moments in which Rachel (Katurah Morrish) asks deep questions that have no real answers such as “how deep is the sea?” and why certain animals can live in certain areas but not others. It captures just how much we still have to learn about nature.
But as soothing as the piece is, it also highlights Carson’s awareness of the fact that humans should be doing what they can to protect the environment and how “we must make our peace with nature” if we wish to co-exist in harmony. This is strikingly seen through the still drawings of animals – initially colourful but then gradually lose the colour and then disappear from the screen – symbolism of how we are poisoning nature with our lack of care. It is an understated way of making this point – as with so much of Nevergreen it is not preachy.
Nevergreen offers a calming, imaginative and understated approach to its subject, leaving the audience with a curiosity to find out more about Rachel Carson and the work that she has left behind .
By Emma Clarendon
Nevergreen is available to watch as part of the Living Record Festival until the 22nd February.