This has piqued my curiosity… I’m very keen to show see how the arts can address climate change.
There is much to be said for exploring the question of how the individual and society reacts to climate change. Film and theatre is potentially a rich medium for such exploration and reflection.
In the years to come we will see increasingly numbers of film and popular television drama exploring the topic:
SYDNEY is flooded. A climatologist feels guilty and anxious that he failed to predict the rising tide, having allowed realpolitik to drown his science.
This is Between Two Waves, Australia’s contribution to the theatre of climate change, written by and starring the actor Ian Meadows, who portrays Daniel, a Sydney climate scientist turned policy adviser awash in his home town, the Marrickville-Cooks River district.
But does theatre on global warming succeed, or does the message overwhelm the medium?
Meadows, who started work on the script as a feature film, says: ‘‘I wanted to deal with [climate change] in a way that wasn’t didactic, that didn’t get bogged down in the science necessarily, or too much in policy, but deal with it at a personal and emotional level.’’
Global warming may have gone off the political boil, but such contemporary concerns can take time to ‘‘agitate’’ through theatre, given the long time needed for script development, says Sam Strong, who will direct Between Two Waves as his last play as Griffin Theatre’s artistic director.
The stages have therefore been belatedly trading in tales of carbon emissions: British playwright Richard Bean’s black comedy The Heretic was seen in Melbourne this year. Sydney Theatre Company has just staged the British theatre company Filter’s play Water.
In Meadows’s script, anxious Daniel is trying to reconcile his relationship with Fiona, played by Ash Ricardo, who lives in the moment. ‘‘It is important to remember this piece is much more art than journalism,’’ Strong says. There is also a big dose of comedy in the play, he adds.
‘‘This is essentially a story about two people dealing with their relationship, and how they face the future,’’ Strong says. ‘‘The climate change is merely a backdrop for that individual struggle.’’
Having lost a lifetime of research in the worst floods Sydney has witnessed, Daniel – a climatologist and advisor to the government – isn’t in the mood for appreciating the irony of what he should have predicted.
Paralysed by the knowledge that the world is consuming itself, Daniel takes little joy in planning for his future – somewhat of a problem for his spirited other half, Fiona. When Fiona tells Daniel they’re about to start a family, Daniel must choose between what he knows and what he loves.
An urgent and searching new play about the most pressing issue of our times, Between Two Waves asks an anxious, warming world: how do we find happiness in the face of an uncertain future?
A politically charged relationship drama set against a climate change backdrop, Between Two Waves is the first play to be produced out of the Griffin Studio, by one of the most talented new voices in the country.