By Theresa J. May, UO Associate Professor for Theater Arts
Earth Matters on Stage: Ecology and Environment in American Theater tells the story of how American theater has shaped popular understandings of the environment throughout the 20th century as it argues for theater’s potential power in the age of climate change. Using cultural and environmental history, seven chapters illuminate key moments in American theater and American environmentalism over the course of the 20th century in the US. Earth Matters focuses in particular on how drama has represented environmental injustice, and how inequality has become part of the American environmental landscape. As the first book-length ecocritical study of American theater, Earth Matters examines both familiar dramas and lesser-known grassroots plays to demonstrate that theater can be a powerful force for social change.
Earth Matters also maps the rise of an ecocritical thought and eco-theater practice – what the author calls ecodramaturgy – showing how theater has informed environmental perceptions and policies. Through key plays and productions, it identifies strategies for artists who want their work to contribute to cultural transformation in the face of climate change.
Routledge, August 2020.