LAVA Center hosting series of climate change programs

The LAVA Center in Greenfield is hosting a Climate Crisis Community Photo Exhibit through Dec. 31. Pictured is a photo contributed by David Sharkin.

The LAVA Center in Greenfield is hosting a Climate Crisis Community Photo Exhibit through Dec. 31. Pictured is a photo contributed by David Sharkin. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

By LIESEL NYGARD

For the Recorder

Published: 11-16-2023 7:09 PM

GREENFIELD — As a way to educate the public on the climate crisis, The LAVA Center at 324 Main St. is hosting theater, film and photography events, all in the theme of climate change.

For one, come December, the center will present 13 play readings as part of Climate Change Theatre Action.

Since 2015, Climate Change Theatre Action has circulated around the globe, featuring short plays from diverse cultures to raise awareness of the climate crisis. The event is held biennially to coincide with the United Nations COP meetings. This will mark the fourth year that The LAVA Center has hosted Climate Change Theatre Action programming.

The center will present 13 play readings that align with this year’s theme, “All Good Things Must Begin,” which is inspired by the journal entry of American science fiction writer Octavia Butler.

There will be two programs of short plays as staged readings on Saturday, Dec. 2, and Saturday, Dec. 9, both at 7 p.m. Admission is on a sliding scale, according to The LAVA Center’s Humanities Coordinator Matthew Barlow. There is a $5 to $20 suggested donation, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

“You can just come in or you can donate,” Barlow said. “We generally take donations, which help defray our costs, but they also allow us to pay for the artists a little bit more. That kind of thing matters to us.”

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The center is inviting people who’d like to participate in the staged readings to audition on Sunday, Nov. 19 or Tuesday, Nov 21 on Zoom. People can sign up for audition slots at bit.ly/49z41Ud.

The Dec. 2 program will be directed by Kiersten Samalis, and will be followed by a debrief activity led by a local theater group. On Dec. 9, JuPong Lin will direct the program and lead a debrief discussion.

One of the main concepts for this year’s play readings is flash flooding. Barlow said this subject will be “really effective” after the summer’s torrential downpours that flooded basements, collapsed roadways and caused sewage overflows across the region.

“This past summer was pretty traumatic,” Barlow recounted. “Every farmer I know suffered.”

The region’s flooding also inspired Barlow to create a gallery of roughly a dozen photos submitted by local residents. The exhibit is available to view at The LAVA Center until Dec. 31 and coincides with Climate Change Theatre Action.

Also under the umbrella of climate change events, on Friday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. The LAVA Center will present five short films from the documentary series “Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops.” There will also be a post-screening discussion with senior producer Bonnie Waltch, who will connect with The LAVA Center by Zoom.

The series is narrated by Richard Gere, produced by Waltch and co-written by both. The films discuss “why natural warming loops have scientists alarmed,” according to The LAVA Center’s event announcement, “and why we have less time than we think.”

This year’s Climate Change Theatre Action events are funded in part by Mass Humanities through the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Greening Greenfield is also providing support.

Questions about the climate change programming can be directed to info@thelavacenter.org.