Theatre scholars Carl Lavery and Clare Finburgh have suggested that the problem of climate change is an Absurd one, calling for a rethinking and a ‘greening’ of the Theatre of the Absurd. According to their analysis, we are once again living in existential times, and need to re-read that movement through the eco-critical lens of the present. The sense of uncanniness – of weather, indeed of a planet and its behaviour – that surrounds us is at once deeply familiar, but behaving deeply strangely lends itself also to a Gothic reading of the emergent genre of climate fiction (or cli-fi). After all, we are living in a period where we are reaping what we have sown since we first started pumping carbon into our atmosphere. The return of the repressed is erupting into the present with violent force in the form of climate catastrophe.
In this workshop, Stephen will demonstrate how recent Australian plays depicting the climate crisis – including his own diptych of The Turquoise Elephant and New Babylon – can be taught as examples of both Gothic Theatre and Theatre of the Absurd. This will assist teachers in refreshing their knowledge of Australian Gothic and Absurdist Theatre with some crazy new cli-fi plays that senior students will enjoy.
Presented by Drama Queensland and QPAC.