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College of Arts and Sciences

PMA play reading explores future of climate change

By: Julian Robison,  Performing & Media Arts
October 16, 2019

What would the Earth look like if we banded together to counter the destructive forces of climate change? Writers Aoise Stratford and Toby Ault bridge science and art in the multimedia experience “Virtual Landscapes,” which offers audiences the opportunity to contribute to the play-in-progress.

Set 100 years from now, the play combines video footage and live actors to peer into a future in which humanity celebrates the efforts of their predecessors to save the planet.

Stratford, a playwright and lecturer in the Department of Performing and Media Arts, and Ault, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, collaborated with atmospheric sciences graduate students to draw on ongoing climate science research that reveals the severity of our environmental future.

“As a playwright, my job is to ask questions,” says Stratford. “That’s something theatre has in common with science. There are some hard questions at the heart of this piece: questions about our current environmental, atmospheric, and geological trajectory, what it would look like if we could look back at having slowed climate change, and what it might take to find common ground now.”

“Ultimately,” Stratford says, “the piece will incorporate augmented-reality technology and have a site-specific performance. This staged reading and audience Q&A is a really important step toward that.”

Following the staged reading, audience members are encouraged to share their perspectives and thoughts about the play to help further develop the work. The event is free and open to the public.

The reading is in the Schwartz Center’s Film Forum on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 4:30 p.m. The Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts is located at 430 College Avenue.