The American Museum of Natural History and Theater of War Productions today announced a special production of The Oedipus Project on September 20 at 7 pm in the Museum’s Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life.
Presented as part of Climate Week NYC, the program will feature a live dramatic reading of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King as a catalyst for powerful, audience-centered conversation about climate change, ecological disaster, and environmental justice. The project will use the ancient Greek tragedy—a story of arrogant leadership, ignored prophecy, intergenerational curses, and a pestilence and ecological collapse that ravages the archaic city of Thebes—as a framework for interrogating and understanding our role in the unfolding climate crisis. It will feature performances by Oscar Isaac (Moon Knight), Amy Ryan (Only Murders in the Building), Liza Colón-Zayas (The Bear), Anthony Edwards (Top Gun), Michael Stuhlbarg (Dopesick), Ato Blankson-Wood (When They See Us), Marjolaine Goldsmith (Company Manager, Theater of War Productions), David Patrick Kelly (Succession), and Jumaane Williams (New York City Public Advocate). Tickets to the free program are available now at amnh.org.
“As we confront the scale and pace of climate change on our planet, the Museum has an important role to play in engaging and energizing our community around this urgent global challenge,” said Sean M. Decatur, President of the American Museum of Natural History. “We’re proud to partner with Theater of War Productions on this special Climate Week NYC production of The Oedipus Project, which draws on the power of drama to spark critical conversations about the climate crisis.”
This presentation of The Oedipus Project will be the first time the critically-acclaimed production, which premiered on Zoom in May 2020, will be held in-person. Community panel members follow the live reading and kick off a facilitated town hall-style conversation grounded in audience members’ interpretations of the play and first-hand experiences with climate change.
“Theater of War Productions is thrilled to present The Oedipus Project at the American Museum of Natural History as part of Climate Week NYC,” said Bryan Doerries, artistic director of Theater of War Productions. “Greek tragedies are timeless stories about mortals who learn too late. The Museum is a sacred space of science, education, wonderment, and beauty that invites visitors to see and interpret our human story within the natural universe. It is the perfect setting to present Sophocles’ ancient play and spur crucial dialogue about the climate crisis, so we can collectively take action before it’s too late.”
Guiding the audience through a series of questions designed to engage with timeless themes from the play, The Oedipus Project invites New Yorkers to participate in a constructive dialogue about the environmental challenges facing our planet and city today.
Engaging with Climate Change at the Museum
The Museum advances the scientific and popular understanding of climate change through scientific research; permanent and temporary exhibitions; educational offerings for teachers and the general public, including the free Coursera course “Our Earth’s Future”; and public programs ranging from Climate Week NYC events, the annual family-friendly EarthFest, and the SciCafe series to special art-science collaborations aimed at engaging audiences on climate change through performance. Under the blue whale, these have included the premiere of Karen Armitage’s On the Nature of Things, a dance exploring the threat of climate change created specifically for the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life. Additional climate change resources from the Museum can be found at amnh.org/explore.
American Museum of Natural History (amnh.org)
The American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869 with a dual mission of scientific research and science education, is one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions. The Museum encompasses more than 40 permanent exhibition halls, galleries for temporary exhibitions, the Rose Center for Earth and Space including the Hayden Planetarium, and the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. The Museum’s scientists draw on a world-class permanent collection of more than 34 million specimens and artifacts, some of which are billions of years old, and on one of the largest natural history libraries in the world. Through its Richard Gilder Graduate School, the Museum offers two of the only free-standing, degree-granting programs of their kind at any museum in the U.S.: the Ph.D. program in Comparative Biology and the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Earth Science residency program. Visit amnh.org for more information.
Theater of War Productions works with leading film, theater, and television actors to present dramatic readings of seminal texts—from classical Greek tragedies to sermons, books, speeches, screenplays, long-form articles, and modern works of poetry—to provide a framework for engaging communities in powerful discussions about critical subjects, such as the visible and invisible wounds of war, mental health, substance abuse and addiction, gun violence, the challenges faced by refugees and immigrants, homelessness, the isolation of the pandemic, and the climate crisis. The company uses a combination of live performance and guided dialogue to help diverse audiences address pressing public health and social issues by fostering empathy, compassion, and a deeper understanding of complex topics. For more information, visit theaterowar.com.