In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s advisory committee on science and technology warned the president about the increasing accumulation of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere.
Johnson, in an address to Congress on Feb. 8, 1965, said, “This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale.”
Not much has changed in the 52 years since Johnson’s address.
While contentious in the public, scientists have confirmed the world’s natural balance has been interrupted.
According to NASA, as temperatures continue to rise, increased natural disasters like wildfires, droughts and harsher storms will impact the planet, affecting plants, animals and even ourselves as humans.
On Wednesday, Nov. 8, Theatre NDSU will present an accumulation of work on climate change as part of the international event Climate Change Theatre.
“I got an email from Chantal Bilodeau, she’s one of the playwrights that works on this,” Jess Jung, assistant professor of directing and artistic director of Theatre NDSU, said. “She reached out and said she was trying to get every state involved and North Dakota wasn’t represented yet and would Theatre NDSU like to represent? And I was like, ‘Yes, absolutely.'”
In total, 50 playwrights contributed to this year’s Climate Change Theatre Action. NDSU will be producing nine of the plays in their space.
“The plays are short,” Jung said. “They’re five to seven minutes long. They’re just these little power punches. Some of them are really funny, and some are foreboding.”
The setup is like a staged reading. Actors won’t be memorized and their scripts will be out, but that leaves opportunity for them to really home in on the words they’re saying, according to Jung.
“We’re there to listen to the play,” she said.
She also said that through this setup, the actors were really pushed to connect with the words on the page and the intention of what the playwright was trying to say.
After the formal reading is over, the audience is invited to stay to have a conversation about climate change, how it affects the world and what the steps going forward should involve.
As the only representative of North Dakota, Jung feels it’s important to have this conversation and be a voice for the state.
“I think it’s really easy to continue using the resources that we do without thinking about it. I think we even do that in theatre,” she said.
She continued, saying, “But as artists, we have the ability to help people see themselves through the art. We communicate ideas through art that hopefully stop people in their tracks and help them connect these big ideas to their real world, in a way they wouldn’t if they hadn’t had that opportunity.”
Climate Change Theatre will be held in Askanase Auditorium at 5 p.m. Nov. 8, and is free for everyone.
To learn more about Climate Change Theatre Action, visit their website.
WHEN: Nov. 8 at 5 p.m.
WHERE: Askanase Auditorium
MORE INFO: Theatre NDSU’s Facebook page