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The Earth Turns: Upcoming Play Featuring Families in Climate Crises

Abigail Flynn
October 24, 2022

Art connects human experience with climate crisis realities through The Earth Turns, a feature play from Adam Marple, assistant professor of directing, to be performed at COP27 and Falaki Theater at AUC Tahrir Square. Crafted from 12 stories about families experiencing different climate crises, including desertification, flooding and deforestation, Marple uses Egypt’s tradition of storytelling to bridge the gap between hard data and human emotions in his 40-minute production. The play will be followed by a discussion with the cast and crew, audience and scientists about the data behind the story.

“Facts and figures are fantastic and scientists are doing a really good job,” Marple said. “But at the end of the day, we need to humanize this. We want to connect emotion to these stories and to what’s happening to us.”  

Using props, costumes, and sets all made by the cast and crew, Marple hopes to make this production as sustainable as possible. Instead of using large lighting rigs, the cast will use battery-powered lamps, phones and flashlights. The actors, members of the AUC community, are involved in both the development of the story and the construction of the sets and props.  The play has been adapted from We Still Have a Chance: 12 Stories for 12 Days of COP27, an anthology of micro-stories produced by a UK-Egyptian collaboration including the University of Exeter, the Met Office and AUC and is funded by the British Council's Creative Commission Egypt for COP27. 

“This production has been unlike any other play I have taken part in because it is a collaborative process where we are creating something collectively,” explains actor Noah Abdel Razek ‘21. “I believe art is the best way to address any difficult topic. In theater, we engage with the audience’s emotions, which is perhaps the best way to get people to actually listen and care.”

Both the design of the props and set pieces and the content of the play itself stress the importance of individual autonomy. Abdel Razek sees an opportunity to encourage people in the community to make more eco-friendly choices. “I feel that in Egypt the majority of people aren’t conscientious of their use of water, electricity and plastic. As someone who has the privilege to afford these more sustainable alternatives, I believe it is my duty to do as much as I can to reduce waste,” they explain.

The Earth Turns will be performed live and streamed online at the Falaki Theater in AUC Tahrir Square next week on Wednesday, November 2, and Thursday, November 3. It will be performed again at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh at the Amphitheater in the Peace Park on Friday, November 11. 

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