As Chatham Park continues to develop its community, they remain dedicated to supporting local art in Chatham County. As part of that commitment, Chatham Park is powering our Go See This series. They join us in inviting you to Go See This . . .
The art scene in Chatham County continues to grow and thrive across all artistic mediums, from dance, to visual arts, to theater. One of the venues that continues to grow as a hub for art is The Plant, which will soon be hosting performances of “Cascade,” a new play by writer Jim Grimsley. The play is set in the not-so-distant future, where climate change has escalated, forcing people out of their homes, seeking scarce resources. The show began its run earlier this month with performances at Swain Hall Black Box Theatre on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill (continuing through April 23rd) and it will soon come to The Plant in Chatham for several performances during the last weekend of April, from April 28-May 1.
The show is directed by Chatham County’s own Joseph Megel, who is an artist-in-residence and teaching professor in Performance Studies at UNC, as well as Artistic Director of StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance. Joseph and his team at StreetSigns had been interested in producing a play about climate change when Jim Grimsley’s play serendipitously came along.
“We feel like climate change is one of the major issues of our world right now. There are others of course, but it feels pretty primary to us, so we were seeking a piece of art that would engage with that discussion,” says Joseph. “We’ve been working with Jim Grimsley for a long time. He sent us ‘Cascade,’ which he wrote in a 48-hour writing challenge in response to the book, ‘The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming’ by David Wallace-Wells, and we fell in love with it. We started working on it last year with the Process Series, and we’re now putting up its world premier production. We’re presenting what we think is a really beautiful piece of art, and that art is a way of encouraging social change, action, involvement, and engagement.”
One of the actors in StreetSigns’ “Cascade” is another long-time Chatham County resident, Derrick Ivey, a talented actor and stalwart in the Triangle’s theater scene. “As a Chatham county resident, it’s exciting to have more theater here,” says Derrick. “I’m looking forward to performing at the Beverage District, which seems like a really vibrant place and growing enterprise.”
Producing “Cascade” at The Plant feels like a natural partnership, given the environmental subject matter of the show. “We met the people at The Plant, and they seemed to be like-minded,” says Joseph. “We knew that they would be engaged with the issue of the environment and what’s happening. Having the show in an environmental space like The Plant will add to the experience. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the play feels in that space.”
Art often has a way of effecting change in profound ways, particularly with an issue such as climate change. “The effects of climate change are already happening, so to say that we can avoid it is impossible, but we certainly can make choices that will make the future more habitable,” notes Joseph. “I feel like it’s an essential message to bring out again and again. I’m a big believer that art has a very powerful way of getting that message out, and can potentially transform people’s thinking and actions.”
We also encourage people to come early (or stay afterwards!) to enjoy the art installation in the lobby, with pieces by Chatham County artist Ann Corley Silverman. Ann’s work is deeply connected to the environment, and the pieces in this exhibition are no exception. As Ann notes, “I am beyond alarmed at the ways that human societies fail to work with nature to protect the environment that supports their (our) existence. Warfare and consumption continue. I took up a heat gun and melted more wax. There is one small piece in this exhibit where a book form nestles into a piece of wood. It is called ‘Wood Wisdom’. May it be that we absorb some.”
- What: “Cascade,” a new play by Jim Grimsley (and art exhibition by Ann Corley Silverman)
- Where: The Plant, 192 Lorax Lane, Pittsboro
- When: April 28th–April 30th at 7:30pm and May 1st at 2:00pm
- Cost: Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased online through Eventbrite