In the center of the Brucennial Gallery Exhibit downtown on Bleecker Street, stacks of hay bales set the stage for Bruce High Quality Foundation’s production of “Animal Farm- the Musical“, which premiered the first weekend in March. In this Orwellian adaptation, the chicken trustees at BHQF University, reveal the financial crisis facing the school and decide they must “hatch a new strategic plan. Everything must be ‘on the table.’”
One hen trustee of the equity firm ‘Beak and Claw, ’ suggests they “ Diversify our debt, prioritize our portfolio, reassess our risk…No risk. No reward.” Another wants to clean up the pig stye, and create a 21st century institution. “What we need is a Goddam state of the art architectural monstrosity.”
These options don’t pan out. “ The economy has collapsed. ..No one could have seen this coming. No one should be blamed,” the trustees cluck.
Throughout the play, the chickens trustees switch their beaks to snouts and transform into recent piggie art student alum, while Law and Order sound effects signal scene changes. The piggies struggle making ends meet with their day jobs and finding time to pursue their passions : (“ We’ve got art to make, but we’re stuck working every stinking day.” ) They are reminded and inspired by these truths expressed in song: ”Every pig is an artist/ No pig flies alone/ Teaching others is our greatest work/We can do it on our own”
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Coinciding with the release of Brighter Green’s Case Study on India, Veg or NonVeg? India at a Crossroads, I will be writing a series of blogs over at Brighter Green about the intersection of recent writings on India with issues raised in our case study: ”Over the past several years, there has been a considerable amount of writing about modern(izing) India. From different angles, writers are witnessing and documenting a subcontinent undergoing significant shifts. The New York Times recently launched their first country specific blog, India Ink. At Brighter Green, we’ve been most interested in the social and environmental issues that are emerging with a changing country, a changing diet, and a changing climate. Our recent paper and our videos on India’s chicken industry [now with over 50,000 views on Youtube!] and dairy and beef industries delve into this further. In this blog series, I hope to highlight writings on India and where they intersect with sustainability, equity, and rights, particularly in the context of food security and climate change.
Read Part I of this series: Red Sorghum and ‘F&B’ which discusses Siddartha Deb’s recent book, The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India.
Check out Part II of this series, which discusses AkashKapur’s article in the October 10, 2011 issue of the New Yorker, “The Shandy: The Cost of Being a Cow Broker in Rural India.” The article is an excerpt of his forthincoming book. India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India.