Off Broadway's Swimming with the Polar Bears is a poignant, sometimes funny, very touching and deeply personal look at the dangers of global warming. Stage and Screen Actor Mel England returns to the autobiographical one-man arena, with director Jill André, to explore the parallels between contemporary life, ancient Eskimo mythology, and the tragic loss of an endangered species.
Premiering Off Broadway in New York in April 2009 as part of an Earth Day benefit for The Climate Project, Swimming with the Polar Bears has now been seen around the world, in Los Angeles, at the 2009 UN Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen, and on the National Mall in Washington DC as part of Earth Week, sponsored by the Earth Day Network to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day.
In the tradition of Spaulding Grey, England takes an introspective examination of his battles with extinction – from surviving childhood abuse to overcoming Cancer – as a backdrop for larger questions of how we all can survive on our precious planet. A 20-year AIDS survivor, England struggles against the odds—to understand our own denial, grasp justifications, and ultimately accept responsibility to save oneself.
England takes us on a fantastical journey bringing Polar Bears to life -- with video and images by National Geographic’s Tristan Bayer and original music by Thomas Silcott – and, in the end, we find we are all Swimming with the Polar Bears.