Sydney’s Griffin Theatre Company recently launched their 2012 season programme, announcing that this time next year, it will present Between Two Waves, “a relationship drama against a climate change backdrop”. The play, which will open in November 2012, is one of a small few performing arts productions to engage with the real life issues of the nature of our modern day environment in an artistic capacity. This contrasts with the visual arts, in which the exploration of the issue of how to approach our increasingly fragile environment is being rigorously and widely interrogated globally—an exploration to which this blog, the exhibition Try This At Home and the five-year Curating Cities project are contributing.
Alex Bellemore from wetrythisathome.org approached Griffin Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Sam Strong, to ask him to contribute his thoughts on the performing arts and sustainability and Between Two Waves. This is what he had to say …
On the performing arts and sustainability:
We had a fascinating moment at the Australian Theatre Forum that was a discussion about sustainability and what theatre companies are doing about sustainability. There are a lot of concrete things going on and obviously STC [the Sydney Theatre Company] has led the charge in that regard—the recycling of sets, less paper in the office… but what was also fascinating about what came up at the session was, well, are we making art about this? And the usual conversations that go on that said we don’t want to make art about issues, sometimes art that is about issues is less effective or didactic, or get buried in the research or the science.
We are endeavouring to make work which is more urgent and responsive to our immediate environment, and the great thing about the performing arts is that we can do that fairly quickly, we can respond quicker than film can for example. We think it’s important for us to be immediate and responsive to the world around us and to reflect that present world back to us as well as the recent past.
On Between Two Waves:
I think what’s fascinating about what Ian Meadows [the writer of Between Two Waves] has done in Between Two Waves is his entry point into the climate change question—it is emotional and imaginative. Yes, it confronts all of the science, and it confronts what is the biggest issue of our time, he does that, but he does it in a way that is about one character’s quite personal struggle.
Ian has created a main character who is a climatologist, who has specialist knowledge of where the world is headed, the anxiety that that creates is sharpened in that his personal life evolves over the course of the piece, which is the relationship side of it [the play] and his partner falls pregnant, so they are confronting that very personal take on that climate change question: how do you bring a child in to a world which you know is fucked? There is also the imaginative side of it as well, what was originally a film script that Ian wrote, that was in development, had these wonderful visual moments, of what I suppose were nightmare sequence of a kind of environmental dystopia. Ian faced the fascinating but challenging task of bringing those into the theatre and he has found a great, formal solution for that so that there is some wonderful, imaginative takes on climate change that exist in this piece.
Between Two Waves
5 October—17 November 2012
SBW Stables Theatre
10 Nimrod Street
Kings Cross NSW 2011