Josh Fox at the Public Theater


by: Carole Di Tosti


As the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of the International WOW Company, Josh Fox has written/directed/produced three award-nominated and award-winning films, two about fracking: Gasland I (2010) and Gasland Part II (2013). His third film, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change (2016), reveals how the planet is warming more rapidly than even the Paris Climate Accord accounts for. All of these issues and more are presented by Josh in his magnificent solo performance The Truth Has Changed, currently at the Public Theater as part of Under the Radar Festival. 

Josh is not only a gifted filmmaker, but he is also gifted at transmitting his powerful experiences and ideas in a theatrical way. For The Truth Has Changed, Josh employs video clips, music, dance, banjo playing, atmospheric lighting, sardonic humor, direct address and, at the conclusion, interactive audience participation. He conveys information, details, and facts in a mesmerizing way that is sardonic, entertaining, earth-shattering, and ultimately unforgettable. 

The information Fox presents concerns our right to clean air, water, land, and the unvarnished truth. The extensive facts, details, and explanations he offers expose the toxicity that corporations want us to accept when they pollute, corrupt, and devalue our right to a pristine quality of life by fouling what they need to “do their business.” Outrageously, they expect taxpayers— if they even can— to clean up the waste and devastation they leave behind. 

Most importantly, Josh’s production— in this divisive political culture of “alternate facts” and “fake news”— reminds us that truth and facts have become obsolete, relativistic conditions. Lies, for those who stand to benefit monetarily, have become the convenient norm. Corporations and lobbyists (and politicians who are bought off to support them) will use lies to persuade the public that what companies do is harmless, when in fact, it is deadly. 

As a witness to how there has been a paradigm shift from lies becoming the truth and the truth becoming a hoax, Josh chronicles the last twenty years up to the 2016 election. He begins by sharing his experience at Ground Zero the day after 9/11. He wore a respirator; ironically, he was engaged in a theater project whose subject was the apocalypse. In addition to the impressions of the twisted wreckage and the horrific, toxic smell, he calls out then-EPA Director Christine Todd Whitman— and others— who assured first responders, iron workers, volunteers, and others that the air quality was “fine.” (Of course the opposite proved to be true.)

Josh Fox

Fox continues by discussing his maverick research to expose fracking by interviewing individuals whose water supply was forever toxified, and those who were suffering from mortal illnesses from methane or fracking chemicals. He integrates information from this research and from his third film about climate change, in which he references the BP oil spill and the lies told about the so-called “harmless” product known as Corexit used to magically “disappear” the oil leakage. In each instance, the government and the corporations worked hand-in-glove to misdirect the public and assure concerned citizens that the situation was not dire. Again, the opposite proved to be true.

Adding even more personal stakes to the events at hand, Fox details numerous incidents in which his own life was threatened in the hope he would cease and desist in his expose against fracking. Corporations conducted smear campaigns against him and created their own film, Frack Nation, to debunk the deleterious impact of fracking on water supplies, air quality, and soil. These corporations avoided fact-based findings in order to raise doubt and make truth a “matter of belief,” with the help PR firms, conservative writers and marketing agencies (the name Steve Bannon comes up), who were hired to beautify the ugly truth and render it non-toxic.

Fox details that Exxon knew of the dangers of global warming in the 1970s and did nothing. In 1988 scientists repeated that global warming, unless checked, would create climate disasters. Sadly, there are still those today who claim that global warming and climate change are a hoax.

If you have not had the opportunity to see Josh live on stage and are in New York City during the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival— which runs from January 8th to January 19th— go see him perform. His one-man show, which he wrote and performs himself, was staged with Ron Russell. The striking music is by Alex Ebert and Andy Gillis.

The show is a mind-blowing, terrific must-see.

Photos: International Wow Company

The Truth Has Changed

The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, NYC

Through January 19