The starting point for this performance was the life and work of Australian ecofeminist Val Plumwood (1938-2008). In 1985, while on a canoe trip in Kakadu National Park, in Northern Australia, Plumwood was attacked by a crocodile. It bit and dragged her underwater, three times. Plumwood survived this deadly attack, and this event would fundamentally change her view of life, death, and humans. She had already been a key figure in the development of a radical eco-philosophy since the 1970s, and with the crocodile's attack came a focus on the fragility of human beings and a search for humility and connection. Plumwood was an " eco-thinker " avant la lettre, an important and yet often unheard reference for contemporary writers like Donna Haraway.
PREY starts from this unimaginable crocodile story and builds on two core ideas from Plumwood's oeuvre. First, there is the statement, ''We are food.'' Her encounter with the crocodile was a clear reminder that humans are a species that is also part of the food chain. Indeed, it is the dynamic of eating and being eaten that can reconnect us Westerners to our environment. Ecology, for her, is one big feast, to live is to be prey: a powerful antidote to fantasies of immortality and exclusivity.
For Plumwood, the idea of an immortal human who is free to kill and extract his environment was a consequence of a Western, rational, masculine worldview. In this view, body and mind, nature and culture are separated. Her feminism consisted mainly of a search for other narratives to connect people with their environment, and a plea for embodied experience. To be prey, after all, also means to be "body," "flesh." This is the second idea that PREY is inspired by: the bankruptcy of the classical Western narrative as a meaningful way to relate to the world. Plumwood found alternatives in the stories of Aboriginal people, but at the same time she did not deny that as a white intellectual she was always just a visitor in their world.
In PREY we see a friction between figures who cannot help but consider themselves the center, and an environment that drives them away from that center. It is the paradox of the geological age of the Anthropocene, and perhaps this is where the performance will find its tragedy. The characters on stage, like Plumwood during the life-and-death struggle with the crocodile, have gone down the rabbit hole like some kind of 'Alice in wonderland' and there they have glimpsed a different vision. Since then they continue to look for other ways to access that other universe, for ways to be prey and thus be connected to their environment. PREY is an attempt to give form to a traumatic event in which comfort and horror converge.