Jem Pickard’s Program Note for Metra

“We need to tell personal stories… about our own personal transformations into climate revolutionaries!”
– Sam, in Metra

The story that birthed late-stage capitalism and the climate crisis was one of white supremacy, religious righteousness, and European dominion over the natural world. It’s a violent story of extraction that continues to dominate every sector of our society. But, as the play Metra powerfully reminds us, a story isn’t stone; it can be changed. By telling a different story– one of transformation and regeneration– we will build a different society.

Theater offers us an opportunity to model the kind of world we want to live in. In a rehearsal and production process, we can model communities of care and collaboration; in playwriting, we can create characters who act intentionally upon values, and narratives that help envision the road that leads to justice and joy.

Unlike the doom-laden stories that make up so much media around climate change, Metra is the tale of a tipping point: a moment of personal and collective revolution, led by people with deep knowledge of transformation, and for whom the stakes are highest. There is grief in this story, there are mistakes made; the revolution isn’t easy or pretty, and the conflicts continue after the play’s end. But the new myth of Metra gives us something we might hunger for most in these unprecedented times: permission to be hopeful, and the tools to act on that hope.

-Jem Pickard

Co-Director of Superhero Clubhouse, a Lenapehoking (NYC)-based organization creating theater to enact climate and environmental justice.

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