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20-Minute Assembly Cabaret

Time Travel TV Chat Show  


[Bare stage – two chairs set up, with a coffee table, interview style. If you want, you can have TV cameras. The Floor Manager, comes on with a clip board.] 

FLOOR MANAGER:  “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host for ‘Beyond 2050’, Alex Rifkin’!!!

ALEX RIFKIN:   (entering) Good morning everyone, and welcome to another edition of ‘Beyond  2050’. Technology has sure come a long way and today we are going to put it to the ultimate test. Yes, this morning we are looking at Time Travel! We are looking forward to 2050 – and we’re going to bring one of you –  Yes! One of YOU!!! – back from the future to tell you us all about it  and why a concept known as “Green Growth” developed at the Rio+20 Summit is so very important to your future. So – how old will you be in 2050? – Oh dear, need help with the math’s, eh?! Well – 2051 minus 2012 leaves – (40!) – Thank you!! How old are you now? – (gives Age). So 40 + (the age given) = (60+) Think about it! You might be a Grand-mother/father – you might be a politician – prime minister! You could be a film star – a multi-millionaire. But – to get this machine to work – we need your energy: so – can you stand up and say with me:

ALEX RIFKIN and AUDIENCE:   A-woompah – woompah!! A-woompah – woompah!! A-woompah – woompah!!

ALEX RIFKIN:  Louder!! – and sway side-to-side with your hands in the air – locked together, tight! That’s right – go for it!

AUDIENCE:   A-woompah – woompah!! A-woompah – woompah!! A-woompah – woompah!!

 ALEX RIFKIN:   Louder!!!!

AUDIENCE:   A-woompah – woompah!! A-woompah – woompah!! A-woompah – woompah!!

ALEX RIFKIN:   I think you did it!! (Listens on the earpiece…) Yes! – my producer says that the experiment has worked. They have managed to track down a member of [your] Class of the [your]  School in 2010 – our very special guest for today from YOUR future, [CHOOSE A NAME!!]! Give him/her a big hand!! (The Visitor enters, looking just as s/he does today but extremely elegantly dressed)

ALEX RIFKIN:    Welcome to the show! – And my! – How young you look for sixty! How do you do it?

[First Visitor]:  Well, we all eat very healthily. No more smoke and pollution; no more rubbish anywhere. I feel as fit as a teenager! And I’m doing really well! After I got my degree in Green Business Studies and Sustainable Political Economy…

ALEX RIFKIN: I’m sorry – to many long words for this time in the morning!  What’s that??

[First Visitor]:  Green Growth!  Survival!  Surely even you, Alex, have heard a little about ‘Building a Green Economy’?

ALEX RIFKIN:    Sorry – I don’t think so:

[FIRST VISITOR]:  Dear oh dear oh dear!  Do any of you guys know about Sustainable Development?

ALEX RIFKIN:  Oh yes! We do know about that, don’t we?  (asks the audience)  You don’t sound very sure? Some for all forever?  Ring any bells??

[First Visitor]:   That’s right: Some for all forever.  Making sure that our planet lasts long enough to support future generations of people who will be born here.

ALEX RIFKIN:  Yes, yes – we all know about that, climate change, melting ice caps and the rest: but that doesn’t really affect us here, does it?  I mean, the sun comes up every morning – it’s a lovely spring day: flowers are blooming! Everything’s fine!…

[First Visitor]:  Until it isn’t – and by then it’s too late. Look at that slide – you had ice caps shrinking in size and volume, raising the level of the sea. But worse, you had peak oil – fast diminishing reserves of coal, oil and natural gas which your entire civilisation is based upon.  If we hadn’t started working to transition to a green growth economy right then – back in 2012 – I don’t think we would have made it…

ALEX RIFKIN:  But – looking at you, we clearly did! So – in what ways is the world in 2051 a better place than today’s?

[First Visitor]:  Hundreds – THOUSANDS! – of ways!! We have very little poverty now. All the people in Africa and Asia have food, clean water among other things. Almost everyone can read, and there are enough doctors for every one.

ALEX RIFKIN:  That sounds amazing because in 2012 loads of people died from hunger and dirty water. So HOW did you do it? (Slide population)

[First Visitor]:    Well – to me, and many others,rocketing population growth was the first thing to tackle. Back in 2012 – we’d just hit 7 billion, and 8 billion was only 13 years away: we had to stop that growth.

ALEX RIFKIN:  How did you do this?

[First Visitor]:   Female education and green growth: once economies started to grow again, and women had respect and dignity in their societies, they didn’t feel obliged to have so many children – and population rates slowed dramatically: so much so that now our problem is population decline: we don’t have enough people to do all the green jobs we’ve created in some places!

ALEX RIFKIN:   But you’re still about 9 billion people (Visitor nods) So – how do you feed them all?

[FIRST VISITOR]:   Again Green Growth!  It was what we called “Resource Efficiency”:  getting the maximum amount of crops from the smallest amount of land through organic farming, and green farming techniques.

 ALEX RIFKIN:   What about fish?  We hear that fish have just about run out in the North Atlantic.

[First Visitor]:   Yes – look how our parents generation decimated our stocks of wild fish. Almost half our fish stocks crashed or over-fished by 2012 – and the crazy thing was: governments were paying their fishermen to over-fish!  So – at Rio+20 we put a stop to all that, created exclusion zones all over the planet – and, look, you see?  As soon as you create some protected areas where fish can breed in peace, the stocks recover very fast.

ALEX  RIFKIN:  So – every thing’s pretty much hunky-dory up there in 2050?

[First Visitor]:   Oh – I wouldn’t say that!  We’re human – and there are some pretty greedy, unbearable people around, just like I guess there always were. But – when I became Prime Minister…

ALEX RIFKIN:   Oh! You became Prime minister??!!  How amazing…

[First Visitor]:   Yes…I was… and I started to deal with the fact that, in many countries, the people’s voice was not heard: everything was top down – decided by elites:  I wanted to be sure that every one felt ownership of a decision – and, with the help of online referenda, that worked very well.

ALEX RIFKIN: You certainly seemed to have sorted out a lot of problems. And it all started at this Rio+20 Summit that none of us have heard about??

[First Visitor]:   Yes! –  suddenly the leaders came together in what is arguably the most beautiful city in the world, and agreed: “We have to save this beautiful planet  for future generations, and we will do it by setting firm Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by a certain date. And ALL countries committed to Green Growth as the only form of growth that was viable: brown, polluting fossil-fuel powered growth was all but outlawed!

ALEX RIFKIN:   Brilliant. We’ll have to watch what happens down there in Rio later this year. But, tell me: what did you do about energy? You showed us that oil and coal were running out – but how did you keep the lights on without it??

[First Visitor]:  Well, in my Green Growth Studies all those years ago, we looked at a variety of different solutions: Concentrated Solar Power was an obvious one we had to expand. There was a ton of investment in that. But I plumped for TURNIP juice

ALEX RIFKIN:  Turnip Juice!?

[First Visitor]:  Yes -Turnip juice! Which amazingly enough – with some treatment – could produce an extremely efficient biofuel. Cheaper than Algae-based biofuel and much easier to handle and manufacture.

ALEX RIFKIN:  Brilliant!! Turnip Juice!!!! So – finding alternative energy was your greatest achievement?

[First Visitor]:   Actually No, Alex – I think the greatest achievement of our generation {Slide TWELVE} was creating  peace and learning to look after one another. Countries helped support one another so that everyone had the opportunity to go to school and have hospital care too.

ALEX RIFKIN:   Looking after the earth and all the people and animals – both now and in the future?

[First Visitor]:   Exactly:  Some – for – all – forever.


ALEX RIFKIN:   Right! Great! Thank you! Now we’ve got a short break.  When we come back, we are going to push the ‘Alternative Future’ button – and we will see how things might have turned out for our guest from 2051 had we NOT achieved that big breakthrough at Rio+20. See you after the Commercials! (EXIT)
 {VIDEO – Slide FOURTEEN}Commentary:  Next time you go out shopping, remember:
You Have a Choice!
  • Why not buy Fair Trade? Coffee for example: instead of what you pay going to the big corporations, the farmers get a fair wage for his crop. This allows him to educate his children, get good health care, enough food to eat, clean water – all in all a better life! All because you choose
Products with Fair Trade brand mark.
  • What about using charity shops! A great way to recycle clothes you don’t need and to buy good quality clothes really cheap! And the best thing – all the profit goes to charity.
  • And don’t throw away your vegetable waste! Compost them! That way you get free manure for the garden, reduce the amount of rubbish going into the landfills. Everybody wins!

FLOOR MANAGER:  “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back your host for ‘Beyond 2050’, Alex Rifkin’.

ALEX RIFKIN:   Thank you, thank you! Welcome back to the second half of our show, where we welcome a guest from the Alternative Future! (Listening on the Ear-piece) – IF – we can get the technology to work! Bear with us! Yes? YES!!!! (urging the audience) Keep it going! Punch the air – Sway!

AUDIENCE:   A-woompah – woompah!! A-woompah – woompah!! A-woompah – woompah!!

ALEX RIFKIN:   It’s working!! (Bangs and crashes, honks and whirrs) Stop!! It worked!! – Will you welcome please, our guest from the alternative future 2051, [Second Visitor]:Thank you!

 (The same girl as in part one, comes in, dressed in rags, covered in plastic wearing a mask over her face. Her hair is all over the place – she looks dreadful.)

 [Second Visitor]::  Err. Wow! Where am I? Why is the air so clean here? You must have one of those really expensive Oxygen Ventilators.

ALEX RIFKIN:   Oxygen Ventilators.

 [Second Visitor]::    [Removing the mask and taking deep breathes.] Very nice. I was wondering how you all were sitting here without your masks on.

ALEX RIFKIN:  Oxygen Masks? What are you talking about? You look terrible! What happened!?

 [Second Visitor]::   What happened? I’ll tell you what happened!!!! Everything – Everything we did was wrong and I think we all knew it. You see – we had this big Green Growth Summit in Rio back in 2012, and we were all supposed to transition to sustainable technologies!  But we didn’t!  We just sat around like fat pigs in an orgy of consumerism – buying everything we wanted. Eating everything we wanted. It was just so much easier to carry on doing things as we had always done them – putting petrol in our cars, heating our homes with coal and oil – turning up the air conditioning in summer, and the heat in winter. We didn’t want to change – and by the time we realized our mistake, it was too late!

ALEX RIFKIN:   We’ve brought you back to 2010 – your childhood. We want to know every thing that happened and how it could all have gone so terribly wrong?

 [Second Visitor]::  Well – global warming for a start!

ALEX RIFKIN:  Global Warming?  What’s that?

 [Second Visitor]::  The way that fumes from all our cars. And factories were trapping the heat in but not letting it out, this was warming up the earth. We could see what was happening – even back in 2010.

ALEX RIFKIN:   YEAH…  (Looking at the slide)

 [Second Visitor]::   The glaciers were all melting, big chunks of the Antarctic were breaking off – The result was obvious.

ALEX RIFKIN: Yes. Look …

[Second Visitor]::  True….At the time, we thought it wasn’t that important – but then, as millions and millions of us had to move away from coastal regions, and whole cities were flooded, it wasn’t funny at all. It was a global tragedy!

ALEX RIFKIN:   It must have cost billions to clean up.

 [Second Visitor]::  Yes, and it happened all over the world – whole towns, whole cities flooded out – Millions of people died – it was dreadful, dreadful!!

ALEX RIFKIN:  My, that is terrible, but why, didn’t any one do anything about global warming??

 [Second Visitor]::  Because we couldn’t be bothered and we didn’t care.  We just went on polluting, using up our world without any concern about the future.  As a generation, I am afraid, Alex – we blew it!

ALEX RIFKIN:   So, if you were given a second chance what would you change?

[Second Visitor]::   Everything!! I wouldn’t have been so greedy for me! We thought that having more and more things –having the latest trainers or Play Station would make us happy. But it didn’t. We just created piles and piles of junk. Have a look at this. It all came from our homes…

ALEX RIFKIN:  Ohm…looks at it all – it’s disgusting. To think it all came out of our homes…

 [Second Visitor]::  And it got worse. Pretty soon they ran out of room –then they started shipping it off to other countries

ALEX RIFKIN:   That’s terrible

 [Second Visitor]::   Well, it went on and on. Consuming more – creating waste – needing more and more oil. And when started running out of resources, we started wars, killing millions. I cannot believe how stupid we were!   People are such idiots, it’s really a shame….

ALEX RIFKIN:   Well. I am really sorry  – (aside to the audience) goodness she’s so gloomy! I don’t think we’re all idiots, do you? (repeat, do you? – do you? – getting them to say “NO!!”) Well: (visitor’s name!) thank you very much for coming on the show. I wish you all the best! But now you have to go back!

 [Second Visitor]::  No!! Please – please let me stay. Don’t send me back!! PLEEEESE!

ALEX RIFKIN:  Sorry! You make your bed. You sleep in it. You make your future – you live in it! There are no second chances!! 

 [Second Visitor]::     (screams!)  NO!!! – You must let me come back to 2012 and start all over again: we’ll make a success of Rio+20 – and everything will be right again!

ALEX RIFKIN:   Not possible – we have a deal with the Time Travel Association. No Exceptions. Anyway, you could never come back to being the age you were in 2010. Why don’t you just go quietly and give a message to your young self, sitting here so that – maybe – s/he will end up with a better future!

 [Second Visitor]::  Oh, OK! Thank you anyway. Listen, listen all of you!! Other generations had Everest to climb, the moon to walk on! Your generation has just one challenge – to take only what YOU NEED! You have a chance to turn things around. The future isn’t so far away. I wish you luck. I wish you very great luck – and now I leave you to go back to my miserable life, trying to work out with my children and grand-children how we can save the planet from the disaster course my generation set it on.

[S/he creeps off miserably.]

ALEX RIFKIN:   Well – that about wraps it up for this morning. You’ve been a great audience. And remember – you can choose your future. Sustainable or Unsustainable Development.  And don’t wait around for your parents or teachers to make those changes for you: “You have to be the change you want to see in the world!” Go for it!  Thank you!



Time Travel Chat Show – adapted for Edwinstree Church of England School, Buntingford, Hertfordshire, England with songs;