Watch our interview with Harriet Gordon-Anderson and Charles Wu below!
Belvoir St Theatre is currently the home of Scenes From The Climate Era, from the mind of writer David Finnigan. We spoke to actors Harriet Gordon-Anderson and Charles Wu to chat about the production and the importance of shining a light on climate change in theatre.
On why is it important to tell this story in this way...
Harriet Gordon-Anderson: That's a good question. I think what we're trying to do and what Eamon and the team at Belvoir have been trying to do with programming this play is start a conversation. It's not a beginning, middle, end narrative. It's not a clean in a box sort of succinct answer to any questions. It's just a whole bunch of questions, a whole bunch of things that would provoke discussion. It's the kind of play that I think is important to come with other people that you want to enter into discourse with afterwards. Come with mates, come with people that aren't so sure about how to feel about climate change, because I think that's what the play does best. It just prompts talking about really. I think that's why it's important, they're conversations that need to happen. It's also about what we can do as individuals. On an individual level what can you do to feel like you're being constructive about this thing. Maybe take it to a bigger, a bigger political, be a bit punk about it and deface some property if you want.
Charles Wu: Our artistic director Eamon Flack said this much more eloquently, but he was talking about how do you put on a show in the climate era. What theatre is, is it privileges the human, privileges the character, and a continuity of time and space. But when we're in the climate era, those things are too small to deal with that. And so the only way to encompass what we're all going through is to de-emphasise the human, de-emphasise the character, and a unity of time and space. The only way to experience this is to get snapshots of different people in different times and for it all to speak to the same period in the same era and the same group of people dealing with the same thing, really. So I think that's kind of the best way to get the little shocks into your system. Right? Yeah.
On what drew them to taking part in the production...
C: I think we both love working here. This is a very great company for performers and artists and theatre makers. I think it privileges the theater maker in this space. I can't tell you what's more important now than to talk about climate change and the world. So I think it's imperative really. If we get the privilege to work here and work on this show, you have to take it. It's very important.
H: It feels important to be a part of something, even if it's not the be all. As I said, if it's not answering the things, but it's starting something and someone comes and sees this show and goes away and writes a better one about climate change: excellent. It feels like, as Charles was saying, a privilege to be just a part of that conversation. It's a beautiful company. It's a company I've looked up to for such a long time. The company of actors as well. The cast are incredible. I'm so excited to work with these guys. We've had an amazing time. Carissa is amazing, our director. I think we just wanted to turn up to work every day and do this. It's been pretty fun.
On what they've personally learned about climate change through their involvement...
H: The most hard-hitting thing that I've taken away from this is that I need to go to the beach as often as I can within my lifetime, because they are not here forever. That was a hard day when I learned that that beaches all over the world may entirely disappear because of sea levels rising and a bunch of other ocean current science that I am not smart enough to tell you in a succinct way. That's my biggest one. Go to the beach! Please enjoy the beach while you can.
C: I echo that definitely, and also just the smaller human things of if you're planning to have children or if you are trying to think about where you would like to live or where you're able to live in the next decade and beyond that, it's a very vital work. It really makes you think about what you'd like to be doing with your life and how you can make change.
Scenes From The Climate Era is playing now at Belvoir St Theatre till June 25. Tickets are on sale now!