Every other year, 50 professional playwrights, representing all inhabited continents as well as several cultures and indigenous nations, are commissioned to write five-minute plays about an aspect of the climate change crisis based on a prompt. This collection of plays is then available to producing collaborators interested in presenting an event during the project’s time window, typically in the fall.
The 2021 theme for playwrights was “Envisioning a Global Green New Deal.” What might an equitable, sustainable, decarbonized and just society look like? What if the concept of a Green New Deal- a policy platform to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also addressing interwoven societal problems, adopted by climate advocates worldwide– could become a reality?
OUR WICKED PROBLEM presented 6 plays from the collection of 50. Where suitable, they were adapted (with permission) to match our Okanagan landscape. The plays were interspersed with spoken word pieces from 4 local poets. It is the result of a collaboration between Inner Fish Performance Co., Inspired Word Cafe, Tempest Theatre and Film Society, and UBC Okanagan.
All proceeds from the 4 shows went to the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance.
THE PENGUIN by Nicolas Billon and performed by Mae Glerum
Playwright: I am fascinated with the moral gymnastics and cognitive dissonance required to object, on principle, to projects that seek to address climate change.
BREAKING GROUND by Cole Mash
US IN THE PAST by Nathan Ellis and performed by Erin Scott
Playwright: The inspiration for the play is the exciting impossibility of imagining together: the simply knowledge that what I see in my head when I say “bridge” is different to what you see.
CONSULTATION by Dylan Van Ben Berg and performed by Kelaya Allison-Squakin, Lucas Penner
Playwright: When it comes to decisions about the climate crisis, First Nations voices are often forgotten or ignored.
LOCAL SMOKE by Emmett MacMillen
A WINDOW by Whiti Hereaka and performed by Joanna Lige, Emily Parsons, Amelia Rushworth
Playwright: (The Green New Deal) is not radical… instead, it is a pallid retooling of the same systems that got us into the problems we now face.
OUR WICKED PROBLEM by Travis Andrews
HUMMM by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard and performed by Emmett MacMIllen, Cole Mash, Erin Scott, Ken Shaw
Playwright: I was reading about noise pollution, the detritus of radio signals, the unknown accumulation of all the things we emanate.
Playwright: I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how change happens, how we think it happens, and what the difference is.