Monday 7 April 2008

hold the main stage

When David Hare said theatre could prepare us for things we'd like to avoid but cannot (see futures) he was referring to bereavement and grief. But he might just as well have been talking about climate change.

Except, that is, that hardly any major playwright has even mentioned climate change. The only two (as far as I know) that have made any significant contributions to the debate are Caryl Churchill and Vaclav Havel. (The next two would be Christopher Hampton, who wrote an unproduced screenplay about a hurricane hitting New York, and Tony Kushner in Angels in America, who had an angel descend to earth through a hole in the ozone layer.) Most playwrights feel more at home discussing moral and political climates.

In his recent and wide-ranging Front Row interview (editor's pick), David Hare stressed what an extraordinarily rich time this has been for political dramatists. He spoke of 9/11, the Iraq War, Bush, Blair and so on. But the sequence of reports that have emerged from the IPCC (1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007), reports that have fundamentally changed the way many people view the world's future, didn't get a mention.

Climate change is the front page story (today is no exception) that never makes it onto the main stage.

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