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Climate Change Subject Of Lansing Theatrical Program

Scott Crandall performance photo
Melissa Kaplan
Scott Crandall performs 'Visions for the End of the World' at the Broad Art Museum in August. The piece will be part of the Climate Change Theatre Action in Lansing Tuesday.

Can the arts influence thinking on scientific debates like the discussion surround climate change? A program in Lansing this week aims to do exactly that. It's called “Hope Takes the Stage.”

Organizer Melissa Kaplan says it’s part of a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays coinciding with UN Conference of the Parties. She explains that "part of the intent of these events is that people will be able to take action when they leave."

An organization called Science Debate is a partner in the Lansing program. Sheril Kirshenbaum is executive director. She says the non-partisan initiative encouraging candidates for office to address science policy issues prior to election day. Candidates are asked a set of science policy questions, and every presidential candidate since 2008 has responded. "For democracy to work, we need to be as informed as we possibly can be," she continues. "For 2018, we're opening up ten questions to every candidate running for House, Senate and Governor across the United States."

Some of those candidates have already sent in their replies.

So where does theatre fit in? Melissa Kaplan tells me the process required a process of winnowing down options provided by the global organization. Organizers provide 50 short plays to choose from, and at least one must be chosen. Kaplan read them only and picked her top ten, and director Anna Szabo chose two of those for this program. Kaplan picked a third herself, which will be guided by Heath Sartorius. There also will be a piece by performance artist Scott Crandall, called “Visions for the End of the World.”

“Hope Takes The Stage – Climate Change Theatre Action” is Tuesday night at 7:30 at the Robin Theatre in Lansing.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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