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Vanishing Worldlength 55 min

Photo by Peter Uhan
The biosphere, the thin layer of life we call home, has never been so intensely and drastically threatened. Deforestation rates have soared as we exploit the land to feed more and more people. Global emissions are disrupting the climate system, new pathogens threaten crops and our health, illegal trade has eradicated entire plant populations, and non-native species are overtaking endemic flora. Biodiversity is being lost, locally and globally.

Even though extinction is a natural process of world history, today the rate of extinction is reaching tragic proportions. Plants have adapted to their environment in stunning ways over millennia. Their survival strategies have enabled them to persevere in the harshest of conditions, in tropical heat, in severe winters, and so on. But at the current pace of environmental change, they are losing the battle. The rate of extinction is five hundred times higher than that before the Industrial Revolution, with 10,000 to 100,000 plant species disappearing every year. We are on the verge of the sixth extinction, as defined by the renowned investigative journalist Elizabeth Kolbert. The world as we know it is slowly fading into oblivion before our eyes.

Vanishing World looks at today's ecological problems through the lens of plants, and talks about the extinction of plant species. Three habitats – high mountain, lowland meadow and marsh – reveal the beauty of existence and the incredible world of plants: their struggle for survival, adaptability and symbiosis with the rest of living things. The performance opens up sensitivity towards plants and the awareness that they have a life of their own. At the same time, it raises awareness of how this unique, precious and complex ecosystem is collapsing. Will it become only a mirage?

In times of information overload and apocalyptic predictions, the question arises of how the individual copes with the tragic present. The performance, which takes us into the heart of documentary filmmaking, questions the way we create information, the way we document tragedy. Is catastrophic information about the current state of our planet enough, or does it require greater emotional and activist engagement from us to truly embrace this tragedy? And finally – what do we do with this knowledge?

Tin Grabnar has been intensively involved in the field of performance and staging practices since his early years. His field of interest ranges from classical to alternative, puppet and documentary theatre. His broad understanding of theatrical practices and different performance procedures allows him to combine elements of dance, improvisation, contemporary puppetry, magic, performance and visual arts in his work. In the last few years, together with his co-creators, he has also developed dramatic texts for his performances, in which the dialogue is written directly with the final effect of the performance in mind and the content of the play in focus. In his performances, he focuses on themes of collaboration, community, group dynamics and powerlessness. He explores theatrical communication, examines a wide range of different performance strategies and establishes a collaborative process of performance making. He has received numerous national and international awards for his performances Somewhere Else and Still Life in the production of the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre.

Co-production with the University Botanic Gardens Ljubljana

Premiere: 27 October 2022, Grand Stage