Requiem for a River: Operatic Reflections on the Euphrates

I am writing this article the day before the Dutch elections. Far-right populist Geert Wilders has been leading the polls, and Turkish-Dutch youngsters are marching the streets waving dramatically large Turkish flags. For the first time in my life, I see military police trucks (and water-tanks) drive past my window. CNN and Al Jazeera discuss the “situation” in the Netherlands. Unimaginable things are happening to my country. I create operas as a platform for dialogue in a multicultural society. My artistic work stems from research on music dramas from around the globe. I was fortunate to be able to do research on a wide range of music-drama practices, for example Tibetan Opera at the Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts; passion play Ta’ziyeh in Iran; and the ancient Maya dance-drama Rabìnal Achi in Guatemala. Ironically, I found the richest traditions in places where cultural identity is under pressure, especially after a history of violence. For example, one of the first official actions the Dalai Lama took when

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Dweepa (The Island): A Play with Beginnings in the Questions of Climate Change

In 2014, the subject of ecological philosophy made its way from a bookshelf to my study table. Having been a student of environmental economics earlier, the various scientific, social, and eco-political debates were not new to me, but despite the urgency of the situation, I had never wanted to make theatre about this subject. It was eco-philosophy that made me wonder about addressing our ecological crisis in the theatre. My enquiry was framed by a simple question: “Why are we causing harm to the planet when we are absolutely certain that it is unfailingly counter-intuitive to rock the boat one is sailing in?” Of course there are some common answers to this question that include words such as development and short–sightedness, but I had never found these answers satisfactory since they suspiciously point more towards the symptoms than the real issue. They lead us to the next question: “Why are we insistent on rocking the boat we are sailing in,

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Creating a List of Climate Change Plays

Last Updated: February 16, 2017 Where are the climate change plays and who are the playwrights writing them? We are looking to create a comprehensive go-to list so anyone searching for material related to this issue can have this resource available. Below is what we have found so far. What else is out there? Note: This list should by no means be considered an endorsement of the individual plays. It is simply a compilation. Also, in some cases, climate change is featured prominently while in others, it is only a backdrop for the story. 3rd Ring Out – Zoe Svendsen (UK) / immersive theatre A Cool Dip in the Bare Saharan Crick – Kia Corthron (USA) AD2050 – Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti (UK) Arctic Oil – Clare Duffy (UK) Arctic Requiem – Sharmon J. Hilfinger with music by Joan McMillen (USA) As The Globe Warms – Heather Woodbury (USA) As The World Tipped – Wired Aerial Theatre and Without Walls (UK) / aerial theatre Baby – Doppelgangster (UK/Australia) Baked Alaska – Riding Lights (UK) Between Two Waves

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Vanishing Ice

The Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Washington is currently showing the exhibition Vanishing Ice: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775-2012. Curated by Barbara Matilsky, with an accompanying catalogue distributed by University of Washington Press, the exhibition provides a 200-year overview of artists’ responses to the enduring fascination that frigid and isolated places seem to exert on the human imagination. While climate change is, at least in the public consciousness, a relatively recent concern, our desire to conquer the poles is not. In that context, it is interesting to step back and look at the evolution of Arctic imagery, from early 18th century romantic depictions of forbidden landscapes to contemporary works highlighting the vulnerability and fragility of polar environments. Artists from Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Russia, Switzerland and the United States are represented. Notable among them are Arctic veteran photographers James Balog, whose ambitious project Extreme Ice Survey was recently featured in the documentary

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