Emission at Theater for the New City's "Dream Up Festival" - September 2015
"Emission" is about love, greed and the internal human conflict that clouds reason. An absurdist farce with deeply troubling undertones, the play explores why we humans are unable to take control of our lives vis-a-vis the growing climate disaster. Using humor, a love triangle between three women and a struggle for control of an invention that makes carbon emissions visible, "Emission" shows how greed, desire, sex and selfishness can overwhelm our ability to master our own fates.
The play is narrative theater and features a live, original jazz/blues score played by cellist and singer/poet Serena E. Miller. She plays the music, as well as vocalizes the "chorus," a series of poetic interludes that address the actors and action, as well as the audience. These musical and poetic elements contextualize the action of the play in a mythological framework.
Director Pitr Strait said of the play:
Though it may be populated with absurd characters, faceless shades, and melodramatic lovers, Tom Block's play aims not to invent a fantastical world, but rather to expose the madness of our own. Like a formula that makes carbon emissions visible as noxious black smoke, his play reveals the pain, loneliness, and cruelty that drift through our air, fill our lungs and hearts, and threaten to choke the life out of us. Neither idealistic nor pragmatic, neither optimistic nor fatalistic,Emission is an uncertain drama for an uncertain time.
AMY: Carolyn Faye Kramer*
SVETLANA: Irina Varina
HEATHER: Jocelyn Vammer
MALE ROLES: Paulo Quiros*
SHADE: Kirsten Benjamin*
SHADE: Alison Aulakh
SHADE: Madeline Stoffer
DIRECTOR: Pitr Strait, director
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Kate Eminger
CELLIST/COMPOSER/SINGER: Serena E. Miller
CHOREOGRAPHER: Dina Smirnova
SET DESIGN: Patrick Horn
COSTUME AND GRAPHIC DESIGN: Elizabeth Carian
FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHER: Brent Schultz
STAGE MANAGER: Juni Li