Friday 6 November 2009

the habituated imagination

Next week, I'm interviewing playwright Steve Waters, author of the terrific climate-change doublebill The Contingency Plan, in front of a live audience at Cambridge.

By way of homework, I've just read a paper, 'Heatmapping', which Waters delivered at a conference in Bath in 2007. The paper is about theatre and climate change and it links (in different ways) Aeschylus's The Persians, Sophocles's Antigone and Goethe's Faust with James Lovelock, Mike Davis, Jared Diamond and John Gray.

Anyone familiar with this blog will recognise the effort to make connections between those classic plays and these modern commentators. But for many, theatre and climate change isn't an obvious match, it's almost a ludicrous one. Waters rightly suggests in his paper that there's something in the way that theatre has reacted (or rather not reacted) to climate change which is indicative of something much deeper. He writes:

Climate Change seems to elude dramatisation, perhaps because it presents not only a challenge to the habits of everyday life, it challenges the habituated imagination itself, it challenges the very bases of story-telling.

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