The Climate Change Theatre Action project is bringing climate activism to the MU Theatre Department.
The international project mobilizes entities such as universities and theater companies to put on plays and create art pieces with a common theme: climate change. This year MU’s department is producing a performance made up of 12 segments, including some original work, all directed by students and faculty. The segments include poem readings, short plays and projection art. Performances are from Oct. 16 to Oct. 20 at Studio 4 in McKee Gymnasium on the MU campus.
Groups that participate in Climate Change Theatre Action receive access to 50 plays written by people from all inhabited continents. Participants can work with as many as they would like and can turn them into adaptations, musical performances, poems or anything else they can create, according to the company’s website. This will be MU’s second time participating in the movement that began in 2015.
One of the people responsible for bringing the project to MU is Heather Carver, the chair of the MU Theatre Department and artistic director of the climate series.
She brought the project to the department’s attention in 2017, after which MU was the only participant in the state of Missouri.
“Theatre artists want to get involved with activism, and activists are looking for ways to communicate even more,” Carver said. “This project helps people get a sense of what they can do, rather than just be in despair.”
Andrew Black is the assistant director of the series and believes this project is important for the community.
“Theater is by definition a collaboration,” Black said. “You require a range of talented people, so the project is a great learning experience for everyone.”
At MU, the project will happen in collaboration with the advocacy group Climate Leaders at Mizzou. The group’s members will be in the lobby of Studio 4 before the performance with materials and resources for anyone who wishes to get involved with climate activism. They will also moderate panels on stage after each performance to discuss climate change. The group plans to bring professors from MU’s sociology and biology departments to participate in the panels, Carver said.
One of the planned segments is “Laila Pines for the Wolf,” a short play originally written by Iraqi writer Hassan Abdulrazzak. It was chosen by master’s student Kasey Lynch, who will also direct the performance.
The story is a version of "Little Red Riding Hood" with climate change side effects.
“The wolf lives on this island, and crosses over an ice bridge to get to the forest,” Lynch said. “But the ice melts, so he can’t get across and dies of hunger.”
Laila, the story’s Little Red Riding Hood, ends up getting stuck in the forest forever since the conversation where the wolf finds her and leads her to the grandmother’s house never happens, Lynch said.
“It’s not a happy ending, and it’s a really sobering moment,” she said.
Tickets for the performances are $7 and can be purchased at the MU Theatre box office in the lobby of Rhynsburger Theatre.
Supervising editor is Kaleigh Feldkamp.