LCC presents Climate Change Theatre - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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LCC presents Climate Change Theatre

Climate Control Theatre

Mallory Stiles

By Mallory Stiles
Editor in Chief

LCC’s Black Box Theatre, located at 411 N. Grand Ave. in the Gannon Building room 1422, will host a special performance titled, “Climate Change Theatre Action: All Good Things Must Begin,” on Friday, Dec. 1, and Saturday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. each day.

Admission is free. Donations will be accepted for LCC’s Theatre Scholarship Funds.

Producer Melissa Kaplan explained that this is a global event that LCC decided to share in because of the abundance of student concern surrounding climate change.

“The students have been eager to be involved in this issue,” Kaplan said. “’Climate Change Theatre Action’ is a worldwide festival of climate-themed plays founded in 2015 that takes place biennially during the fall to coincide with the United Nations COP Climate Change conference.

“Each festival year, 50 playwrights from around the world are commissioned to write five-minute climate-themed plays in response to a prompt. This year, the prompt is ‘All Good Things Must Begin,’ a line from American science fiction writer Octavia Butler's journal.”

Kaplan said over 150 LCC students were involved in different ways; this whole project has been nothing short of a team effort.

The cast consists of 16 theatre students and one alumnus. There will be three interpreters from the sign language program. The Arts and Design Department helped with advertising art, and English students helped compose the poetry.

“At LCC, we are presenting five plays from this year's CCTA collection by playwrights from Canada, the United States, Kenya and Brazil, and an additional play by a Michigan playwright,” Kaplan said. “We will be displaying climate-themed poems created specifically for this event through the LCC Community-Generated Poetry Project led by Professor Barb Clauer.”

This production has three official directors, Anna Szabo, Doak Bloss and Nick Lemmer, who are all bringing something new to a very, very old conversation.

Director Bloss said the plays planned are meant to have a little something for everyone. He added that even HE has absorbed something new throughout this process.

"The plays are a little smorgasbord of creative takes on what is happening to the planet, some poetic, some comedic,” he said. “Collectively, their purpose is awareness and paying attention. The most gratifying thing for me has been working with younger actors, who have a fresher take on the issues than those of us who have been watching the effects of climate change evolve over several decades."

Director Lemmer said his approach has a lot to do with using laughter to break the ice before getting down to brass tacks.  

“I'd say my goal with the pieces I've worked on is to give a bit of sugar with the medicine,” Lemmer said. “In my opinion people are more receptive to conversations like climate change when you're able to entertain as much as inform. The scripts I selected are very different from each other, but I hope that will help audiences connect in different ways.”

While the theatre side of things promises a night to be remembered, free of any charge, Producer Kaplan said there is also a lot of action planned for after the shows, which include a lot of serious organizations hoping to start a hard conversation.

“Actions include post-show discussions facilitated by John Doudna with the audience and representatives from several local organizations focused on climate and the environment,” Kaplan said. “These groups will have information tables and include the Michigan Coalition for Science on the Ballot, MSU SciComm, Citizens Climate Lobby and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Environmental Health.”

Dr. Doudna is not only involved in post-show discussions, but is also the community outreach coordinator on the project.

He is especially equipped because he is an environmental science teacher who wields a PhD worth of knowledge when informing the public. Doudna is a kind and empathetic person who understands there are a lot of complex feelings attached to this issue.

“Dealing with the idea of climate change can be overwhelming and disheartening, so our event embraces creativity and feelings, opens up for discussion, and provides useful resources on how anyone can take action,” Doudna said.

“We hope to inspire attendees to view climate change from a new perspective — one that encourages innovative thinking and actionable steps.”

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