Comedy Troupe Tackles Climate Change In Performance at Denison University
Posted: February 13, 2003
A three-person comedy troupe will presentWhat's Funny About Climate Change?at 8 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 20) in Denison University's Burke Recital Hall. The show, a review that aims even-handed humor at a major environmental issue, is a production of Human Nature, a northwestern California company that has toured shows about environmental and social issues throughout the United States and in Europe. The performance, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Denison's departments of environmental studies, geology and geography, and theatre, and by the student activities and associate provost's offices.
David Simpson, performer and creator of the script, has been involved for 25 years in the longest-lasting, citizen-run effort in the United States to restore the resources of an entire watershed. Human Nature first came to public attention in the early '90s when its musical comedy,Queen Salmon, toured throughout the Pacific Northwest. The show helped forge a citizen movement to restore salmon in the area.
The humor inWhat's Funny About Climate Changeemerges from an examination of what Human Nature sees as the gap between current human responses to global warming and those that the seriousness of the phenomenon demands. "A lot of people, understandably, would just as soon not hear the news," says Simpson.
"Live theater can reach people in ways that no other medium can," says Artistic Director Jane Lapiner. "If you apply this capacity for deeper communication to humankind's most important issues and goals and leaven it with broad, forgiving humor, the result can be life-changing."
Another aspect of this particular performance is that it provides an unusual family collaboration. Simpson and Lapiner have been working together on stage since they met as members of the San Francisco Mime Troupe during the tumultuous '60s. They left the city together in l969 and began homesteading in the remote Mattole Valley. They have four children, and are joined on stage forWhat's Funny About Climate Change?by their youngest daughter, Joyful Simpson. Joyful has been performing comedy and dance in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past two years. She studied with the San Francisco Mime Troupe last year, 35 years after her parents had worked there.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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