Native Communities and Climate Change, Center Stage

This article was originally published on HowlRound, a knowledge commons by and for the theatre community, on September 19, 2016. A simple equation for survival: In this Anthropocene Age of human-wrought catastrophic climate change, Indigenous people including US Native communities are center stage in dual roles: as those disproportionately affected by the escalating environmental devastation, and as those uniquely voiced with perspectives of vital importance. If we wish to sustain this world for our children and future generations, we must with open minds gather and share information and expertise. We must commit to positive change and work together toward possible cures. Therefore, ergo, ipso facto, in sum: We need Native voices center stage. We need a good Ceremony: We need, collectively, to break up with Aristotle and elementally reframe and fast-track evolve a holistic understanding—an Indigenous understanding—of what it means to be human in a vibrant world that includes and transcends humankind. We need Native voices—historically dehumanized, marginalized, silenced, and subject to appropriation—center stage in all discussions leading to effective efforts, as Native

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Another World Is Possible: Displays from the Women’s March

“We are unstoppable, another world is possible.” One of my favorite rally cries from the Women’s March on Washington is carrying me through the first week of this bonkers administration. This phrase, and the experience of being surrounded by thousands of people showing up for similar goals, signified to me the possibility for a sustainable future. The creativity on display, through signs, costumes, and performance, contributed to the impact of the weekend. These displays offered intersectional perspectives – the Women’s March was in no way solely about women, but about the equitable and just world that we want to live in, despite what the people in power have in mind. Walking out of the D.C. Metro on Friday, January 20 was like entering a ghost town. No cars, very few people, eerie silence. There was the familiarity of red, white, and blue, of a Starbucks on every corner. Familiar, but not comforting. These symbols of nationalism and consumerism are not

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A Year in Theatrical Review, Featuring Climate Change

As this year sprints to a close, I’ve been thinking back on what all has happened – in the world, the country, the city I live in. And then I have to take a breath. Slowing it down in my mind, I reflect on the outside world: the fears, the confusion, the urgency. Then I reflect on the experiences I’ve had inside a theatre, and how so many of those experiences drew together events and questions from the world at large, putting them into conversation with theatre audiences. Most of the plays that I’ve seen are not about the planet’s climate. The plays that I’m reflecting on inspire me to address climate change more intersectionally, using tactics that reach audiences not only on environmental questions, but also around political and cultural considerations. What follows is not an exhaustive list, nor a series of critical reviews, but rather some standout theatrical experiences of the past year, and how they are fueling

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The Nature of Man

Madmen and Dreamers is a progressive rock band who writes, records, and performs original rock operas. Our first project, The Children of Children, enjoyed a limited run at the Bleecker Street Theater in New York City following its regional tour. The band, founded by Christine Hull and me, is raising funds for the tour of its new project, a climate change rock opera called The Nature of Man, written by Mario Renes, Christine, and me. While we were touring The Children of Children, Mario, Chris and I began to talk about the next project. The environment was the obvious choice, but which aspect of climate change should we focus on? As writers are universally cruel to their characters we started tossing around worst case scenarios. It didn’t take long to settle on water: the lynchpin of climate change and flash point of fracking and pollution. But… how to make this huge issue accessible to the audience? While pondering that, Chris and I were

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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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