More than 260 people experienced “A Sea Change” — the interdisciplinary theatrical performance focused on climate change and rising seas — at Florida International University’s two performing arts locations on April 4 and 7, 2017. (Portions of the performance were shared at an event on climate change in Miami on Dec. 2, 2017)
The performance, which featured dance, music, drama, virtual reality, and prose highlighted the work of students, staff, and faculty from across FIU that explained the histories and potential futures related to global environmental change.
Directed by theatre professor Phillip M. Church and produced by journalism professor Ted Gutsche, a cast of 30 told stories of the human condition at a trying time, as we desperately attempt to understand our own roles in the Earth’s response to our collective — and individual — choices of living.
It is our intention to take the production to schools throughout Miami-Dade County and to schools beyond Florida with the belief that if enough young people experience the emotional and scientific truth about climate change, a collective sea change is indeed possible.
About “A Sea Change”
To begin to find lasting solutions for climate change, a cultural “sea change” in people’s minds and hearts must take place.
Such a sea change would need to take place on a massive scale. Yet, while that vision might seem quixotically out of reach we can, in our own individual way, turn to our own personal resources to see how we might contribute to such a collective sea change.
While evidential truths, lectures, charts, pictorial images and data are essential to understanding the leading indicators of climate change, cold facts alone cannot complete the job of moving the human heart into action. Agencies must be involved with the capacity to personalize climate change. One such agency, we believe, is the living theatre.
Therefore, “A Sea Change” is an interdisciplinary theatre initiative that aims to draw together on stage science, journalism, history, architecture, arts and the humanities with the sole intention of moving the heart toward common sense action.
“A Sea Change” takes the audience on an intrepid sensorial journey through cutting edge technology to experience the work of students and faculty as they share solution-seeking research and storytelling, which includes a data-driven Sea Level Rise Toolbox that visualizes sea level rise, music molded from water data, virtual reality of mangroves, and the science of 3D web mapping by which one might receive early warnings of impending neighborhood flooding. Intersecting scientific analysis will be dramatic monologues and scenes, video interviews, choral music and dance.
Participants and Partners
As a participant in the FIU School of Communication + Journalism’s Eyes on the Rise effort and as a demonstration of concerned engagement across the university, the Department of Theatre joined forces with a variety of FIU communities to create a 90-minute production in which incontrovertible truths of research share the stage side by side with interpretative arts.
Our partners included:
- FIU’s Society of Professional Journalists student chapter
- School of Architecture
- School of Music
- School of Environment, Arts and Society
- School of Computing and Information Sciences
- Department of Journalism + Media
- Department of Physics
- Department of History
- Library Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Center
- Miami Beach Urban Studios
- Sea Level Solutions Center
- MAST@FIU BBC
- FIU Office of Sustainability
- Caveman Productions, LLC