A New Perspective

Clean Alternatives leaves audience thinking

Clean Alternatives, a play written by New York playwright Brian Dykstra, was performed at Irvington on May 20 – 21 in the Irvington High Black Box Theatre and later in San Francisco on May 23. It was also shown during class on May 26 and May 27. The play was directed by Maia Steward and performed by Melissa Caban, Marc Hess, and Victor Mattison.

The play opens in the office of Jackie (Melissa Caban), who owns an environmentally friendly company in danger of going bankrupt. Two lawyers, Mr, Slate (Marc Hess), and Mr. Cutter (Victor Mattison), are trying to convince her to accept their deal: her pollution rights in exchange for a million dollars in cash every year. Their rapid-fire responses overwhelming her, Jackie finds it hard to stand her ground, but manages to keep her morals intact.

Mr. Slate later struggles with remorse for his actions as a lawyer for a company that often deals in shady business and stops at nothing for profits, disregarding the environment in order to keep their business going. He leaves his job to side with Jackie, whose fight inspires him and motivates him to be a better person, and becomes romantically involved with her. Mr. Cutter, however, a seemingly moral-less man, continues to try to seal the deal and to silence Jackie and her message about the environment.

Filled with hilarious banter and powerful monologues as well as tender moments, Clean Alternative deals with not only the destruction of the environment, but politics and the lifestyle of the average American. Criticizing people for not standing up for the environment and warning the audience of the consequences of their actions, Clean Alternative was written to give the audience an eye-opening experience. The play has received several awards and has been performed on many stages, including Broadway.