A Stage in Squalor by Caroline Keegan

As a young actor, I grew up hearing “all the world’s a stage.”  The quote comes from Shakespeare, but it gets thrown around pretty casually. Recently I’ve been thinking, if the world is the stage then what does that make me? One of its players? Or just a voyeur?

As I thought about this assignment over the last week, I paid careful attention to when I was a player, and when I was a voyeur. Often I would see things happening around me and not stop to change them– either because I was in a rush or I was scared I would be stepping out of line. Below are some examples.

Camera
iPhone 7
Focal Length
3.99mm
Aperture
f/1.8
Exposure
1/12s
ISO
100

 

 

 

 

Camera

 

iPhone 7

 

 

 

Focal Length

 

3.99mm

 

 

 

Aperture

 

f/1.8

 

 

 

Exposure

 

1/12s

 

 

 

ISO

 

100

 

 

 

Take Out Tragedy

Here is a take out bag I picked up on Sunday night. Not only was it filled with extraneous plastic cutlery and napkins, but it came with two, TWO sets up plastic bags.

 

 

 

 

Camera

 

iPhone 5s

 

 

 

Focal Length

 

4.15mm

 

 

 

Aperture

 

f/2.2

 

 

 

Exposure

 

1/30s

 

 

 

ISO

 

40

 

 

 

Big Bus Blues

The M57 and the M31 MTA stops are right outside my apartment, but recently I’ve noticed the M31 has been idling when traffic is good to stay on schedule.

Camera
iPhone 7
Focal Length
3.99mm
Aperture
f/1.8
Exposure
1/523s
ISO
20

 

 

 

 

Camera

 

iPhone 7

 

 

 

Focal Length

 

3.99mm

 

 

 

Aperture

 

f/1.8

 

 

 

Exposure

 

1/523s

 

 

 

ISO

 

20

 

 

 

Trash Tolerance

Displacement of recycled materials because there wasn’t a public recycling bin for FOUR BLOCKS. (Believe me, I looked.)

As you can see, there were a of issues I noticed in just one week, but I became frustrated with myself for not doing anything to change them, or at least educate my community about changing them. I got frustrated enough with this to work up some courage, and the payoff felt good.

This morning I was in midtown on 8th Ave between 34th and 35th streets. (Or what I like to call the armpit of Manhattan). The avenue is usually packed bumper to bumper on either side of buses, utility trucks, vans, and private cars idling. So I said something… to four cars! And they all turned off their engines!!! It was easy. Here is a picture of some of them.

 

 

 

 

Camera

 

iPhone 7

 

 

 

Focal Length

 

3.99mm

 

 

 

Aperture

 

f/1.8

 

 

 

Exposure

 

1/209s

 

 

 

ISO

 

20

 

 

 

Idle Idiots

I even recorded an audio clip of asking one of them to turn off their engine, which they did immediately without any protest.

It felt pretty empowering to use my rights as a citizen, and has encouraged me to remain as active a player as I can. We really do have the power to change things.

If the Earth is our stage, then we’ve got some major “playing” to do.