Extreme Whether

The play is set during the scorching hot summers of 2004 and 2012 when a scientist named John and his twin sister, Jeanne, argue over property rights of their family’s natural estate.

Play Title: Extreme Whether

Author: Karen Malpede

Publisher: Act I online at Kenyon Review at: https://www.kenyonreview.org/kr-online-issue/2016-fall/selections/karen-malpede/

Genre: Drama (Cli-Fi: Climate Fiction).

Primary Discipline: Environmental

Secondary Discipline: Climate Change

Scientists: Dr. James Hansen: inspiration for the character of John Bjornson. This play was also influenced by the research and findings of Dr. Michael Mann, Dr. Jennifer Francis, and Dr. Tyrone Hayes. These scientists made vast advancements in the field of global warming and its effect on the environment.

Source Texts: Based on various books and research articles written by Dr. James Hansen, Dr. Michael Mann (with a major focus on “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars”), Dr. Jennifer Francis and finally, on the works of Dr. Tyrone Hayes.

Character Breakdown: 3 Men, 3 Women

John Bjornson (Scientist), Jeanne (John’s Twin Sister), Rebecca (young ice scientist and protégé of John), Frank, (John’s brother-in-law), Annie (John’s daughter), and Uncle (caretaker of the estate).

Setting: Wilderness estate on the northeast coast

Time Period: Act I takes place during the summer of 2004. Act II takes place during the summer of 2012.

Synopsis of Play: The play is set during the scorching hot summers of 2004 and 2012 when a scientist named John and his twin sister, Jeanne, argue over property rights of their family’s natural estate. Jeanne and her husband, Frank, deny climate change as Jeanne is an energy spokesperson and Frank is a lobbyist for the skepticism of climate change. John is joined by Uncle, Rebecca, and Annie who all believe the land should be preserved. John and Rebecca, now lovers, can’t seem to convince Jeanne and Frank that the earth is not in perfect health and that the pollution and deformed frog Annie finds on the family’s estate is evidence of that. This play brings light to the conflict over climate change on a more familiar level by pairing it with a family dispute.

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/La-MaMa-Presents-EXTREME-WHETHER-A-Cli-Fi-Play-By-Karen-Malpede-20180201

First Performance Date: Oct. 2, 2014

First Producer: Theater for the New City

Performance History: The show premiered in 2014 at an Off Broadway theater in New York City. It went on to a performance in Paris in 2015 and then to various student organizations in Tennessee and Oklahoma. Its most recent running was at LaMaMa Experimental Theatre Club in NYC in March of 2018.

Links

https://www.kenyonreview.org/kr-online-issue/2016-fall/selections/karen-malpede/

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-plays-the-thing-extreme-weather-creates-headlines-and-a-cli-fi-drama-titled-extreme-whether/

https://www.villagevoice.com/2018/03/07/extreme-whether-falls-short-at-turning-climate-change-awareness-into-compelling-drama/

https://www.kenyonreview.org/kr-online-issue/2016-fall/selections/karen-malpede/

Entered By: Jake Caracciolo and Meaghan Yesford

Photo/Visual Research with citations: 

                                                               

Uncle at the Frog Pond                                      Jeanne and John
Photo by Beatriz Schiller                                    Photo by Beatriz Schiller
Theater for the New City                                    Theater for the New City
2014                                                                    2014

                                                                     

Uncle, Rebecca, Annie, John, and Jeanne                                              John and Rebecca
Photo by Beatriz Schiller                                                                        Photo by Beatriz Schiller
Theater for the New City                                                                        2018
2014

                                                                     

John and Uncle                                                                                     Annie
Photo by Beatriz Schiller                                                                       Photo by Beatriz Schiller
2018                                                                                                      2018

                                                                                 

Uncle and Annie
Photo by Beatriz Shiller
2018

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