A New Approach to Climate Change

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Tai Campbell '21

Alex Brown '21, Edwina Polynice '21 and Mikayla Murrin ’21 starring in Six Polar Bears Fell Out of the Sky This Morning.

Groton School hosted two comedies and two dramas in a series of climate change plays on December 11. Eliza Powers ’20, Zoe Park ’21, Angela Wei ’21, and Sammy Agrawal ’21 each directed a captivating and thought-provoking play to convey the severity of climate change.

“I really wanted to do a comedy about climate change because when I want to get something across I find that comedy really helps,” said Zoe. “So to spread the message about global warming I decided to explore a comedic play.”

In addition to the hilarious yet insightful productions, the mini-theater festival included a panel discussion between the student directors, actors, audience, and Director of Theater Laurie Sales. During the panel discussion, the student directors and actors told the audience why they decided to take part in these climate change plays. 

Audiences enjoyed the comedic spin on the serious topic. 

“The excellent comedy performance by Mikayla Murrin put me in a mindset of people who are ignorant and are unwilling to accept the effects of climate change and help me understand that they are wrong,” said Lucas Zheng ’21.

 

A Dog Loves Mango

 

Eliza directed A Dog Loves Mango by Georgina Escobar. “I also wanted to do a comedy climate change play that provided an entertaining yet interesting approach of exploring power dynamics,” said Eliza. 

In the play, a woman named Lucretia (played by English teacher Ellen Rennard) is stopped by TSA security agents (Lily Gordon ’21 and Caroline Wilcox ’20) in an airport because of one of their dogs smells her mango leather shoes, prompting a conversation about vegetarianism, paper consumption, and animal rights. 

 

Six Polar Bears Fell Out of the Sky This Morning

 

Angela directed Six Polar Bears Fell Out of the Sky by Alister Emerson. “I thought directing a climate change play would be a fun and exciting experience,” she said.

In the play, the Madame Press Secretary (played by Edwina Polynice ’21), Advisor to the Press Secretary (Mikayla Murrin ’21), and Advisor’s Assistant (Alex Brown ’21) are in a corporate boardroom trying to cover up an incident where polar bears fell out of the sky. These events, displayed on a television screen reported by a reporter (Janice Zhai ’21), are covered so ludicrously in order to emphasize how the media skews public opinion on climate change and how the government can control what gets filtered through on climate change. 

“As someone who is part of the Sustainability Committee, I wanted to find a way to project climate change issues in an entertaining and visual way. I thought taking part in these plays would help,” said Alex.

 

The Donation

 

Jen (played by Nicole Lee-Heberling ’21) is working at her desk in a non-profit organization when a drunken man Tommy (Anuj Agarwal ’21) enters. He tells her he wants to donate his life in order to save the 900 tons that his life would release in carbon. Jen tells Tommy to have tea and tries to talk him out of killing himself. She presses him about why, until he reveals he was discharged from the police for assaulting another officer that hit a climate protestor. Jen admonishes him for thinking suicide is how he should make a difference and convinces him to work as a volunteer at the non-profit.

“I wanted to direct a climate change play because one I wanted to address the issue of our ongoing climate crisis and two I wanted to direct something which explored the relationship between two characters,” said Sammy, the director.

 

A Steamy Session in a Singapore Spa

 

A Steamy Session in a Singapore Spa by Damon Chua is centered around the relationship between a scientist (played by Yeabsira Gugssa ’22) and a half-naked test subject (English teacher John Capen). As the play goes on, it becomes more intense until the test subject gets stuck in a steam room, which is a symbol for the world and the climate crisis.

Yeabsira admitted that, as she grew up, “no one really addressed the issue of climate change.” She added, “After joining the Sustainability Committee, I thought I could address climate change problems to people on campus through these plays.”