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Free Staged Reading of a new Climate Change Play - Extreme Whether in New York September 10th

Posted on 5 September 2013 by SonyaLand

On September 10th in New York City, Theater Three Collaborative will be presenting a free, staged reading of a new play about climate change. (It’s at The Cherry Lane Theatre in New York’s Greenwich Village. Tickets are free, but reservations are suggested since space is limited. RSVP:

Karen Malpede, a New York based playwright, has written Extreme Whether, the latest in a line of plays that deal with complex and often controversial issues in society. The play addresses climate change scientists, and their battle against the small, but vocal factions of deniers. Through it all, she weaves in elements of family, duty, jealousy, greed and hope.

Extreme Whether Poster

Poster Design by Luba Lukova

New York was jolted into awareness of the scope and severity of climate change in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and Malpede is firm in her commitment to spread that understanding. 

I knew I had to write a play about climate change. Climate scientists have been attacked, threatened, vilified, sued, and all for telling us the truth we need to hear. Our globe is heating up. And we had better change our behavior, now. This is a great adventure story: a story of bravery and commitment to saving life on earth. I wrote Extreme Whether with passion and speed, as if I were channeling the voice of the earth.

She drew inspiration for her characters from several prominent scientists, including Arctic ice scientist, Jennifer Francis, Ph.D., of Rutgers University. Malpede conducted intensive interviews with Francis to ensure an accurate depiction of the science. After reading the script, Francis said she was “pleasantly surprised at how well [the science] was handled.”

J Francis

Jennifer Francis

Speaking about her work with ice, and how it reflects the current and future state of the world, Francis says:

The ice is an excellent indicator of the changing climate system. I think of it like an annual report for a company. After all the revenue and expenses are tallied, you get a number at the end of the year that tells you how your business is doing. Ice does a similar thing for the climate system. After all the warm and cold events, snow falls and melts, swings in ocean currents, and passing of storms, at the end of the summer we can measure how much ice is left and see the sum of all these effects. The fact that the sea ice, for example, has been disappearing so dramatically in recent decades tells us that the climate system is disrupted, and the only explanation is the extra heat trapped by the rapid increase in greenhouse gases caused mostly by our burning fossil fuels. If we were in a business, we would be in the red.

Climate Deniers = “Climate Misleaders”

I take a harsh view of Deniers, too. In fact, I’ve renamed them, and I’m hoping the new name will start to catch on: “Climate Misleaders.” I differentiate between true skeptics – those who are still unconvinced that humans are causing climate change (I’m not sure how anyone with a truly open mind can be in this category anymore, though!) – and the Climate Misleaders. These are people who deliberately ignore and/or misconstrue the science in an attempt to convince the public that humans aren’t affecting the climate system or that it’s nothing to worry about. They are well funded by organizations that stand to lose a lot if our economy shifts away from fossil fuels, and those funds are used to buy air time to shout their misleading messages. The scientific community as a whole thinks they’re doing a huge disservice to society, and that one day they will be recognized for who and what they are and the damage they are doing.

Actor Zach Grenier, known for his role in the TV show “The Good Wife,” will star in the reading, which will also feature George Bartenieff, Kit Flanagan, Tonia Jagodnik, Di Zhu and Alex Tavis.

Zach Griener

Zach Grenier

This reading, which is a part of Cherry Lane Theatre's Tongues Reading Series, is the launch of the campaign to bring this play to full production in 2014, and is an official selection of Climate Week NYC. After each reading, Theater Three Collaborative conducts a “Festival of Conscience” talkback with a prominent scientist. In the past, this has included James Hansen, whose talk can be seen here. For this performance, Jennifer Francis will lead the talkback. The full interview with her can be found here.

For more information about Theater Three Collaborative, visit or contact

Free Public Event
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
2:00pm – 5:00pm


The Cherry Lane Theatre
38 Commerce St., NY, NY 10014

Phone: 212.989.2020

Tickets are FREE, but reservations are suggested.

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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. Strong words from Jennifer Francis about "misleaders".

    I'm not surprised the play is based on her. In addition of being of one of the most promient public figures of climate science, her theory (slowing and meandering jet stream) is IMO the most interesting recent breakthrough with our understanding of climate change. Good choice of inspiration.

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  2. Thank you, Chriskoz.  The play is also based on James Hansen and Michael Mann, and others who have been attacked just for doing good science and being concerned about the fate of the earth.  But, I, too, find Jennifer's theories really interesting and have tried to represent them accurately in the play. Also, Jennifer was extremely open with me, very willing to talk to a playwright who just called her up and asked for her help.  I appreciate that enormously.  And James Hansen also took a read of the play before he saw it and gave me one note. 

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