Science and the performing arts have joined forces to expand the public discourse on climate change. In Extreme Whether, a play written and directed by Karen Malpede, the issue is viewed through the personal lens of a bitter family fight over land stewardship.
Set during the record warm summers of 2004 and 2012, the “eco-drama” unfolds on a private wilderness estate in the northeastern U.S. Leading one side of the battle is a famous – and frequently criticized – climate scientist. Heading up the other side is his twin sister, a spokesperson for the energy industry. While all the characters in the play are fictional, some of them are inspired by the work of real scientists. These include, Dr. James Hansen, who testified before Congress about the dangers of global warming back in the 1980s; Dr. Jennifer Francis, who researches connections between melting ice in the arctic and wavier jet stream patterns in the mid-latitudes; and Dr. Michael Mann, author of “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.”
Extreme Whether is currently playing at the Theatre for the New City in Manhattan’s East Village. It runs through October 26th. In conjunction with the show, the theatre is also hosting a “Festival of Conscience” where various climate and environmental experts speak with audience members after the play. For the schedule of speakers, visit: http://theaterthreecollaborative.org