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Sum Theatre encourages people to think about climate change with its 11th season of Theatre in the Park.
Featuring giant puppets, live music and audience participation, sci-fi play Zero Gravity explores what could happen if the climate continues to break down.
“Hearing that there’s only 10 years to actually change the course that we’re on right now in regards to climate change … I think it’s very important that kids now actually start to ask those questions themselves,” said cast member Leze Pewapsconias.
Dr. Einstein Reez, worried about the future of the planet, starts to build a spaceship in his garage. He plans to send a group of young explorers out to find a new place to live, intent on saving civilization from a collapsing Earth.
Theatre in the Park’s first sci-fi production, Zero Gravity is “a very busy show, in a good way,” said Donovan Scheirer, who plays Dr. Reez.
“It’s an action-packed 50 minutes … It’s a very interesting and dynamic spectacle, with everything going on.”
Created by playwright and dramaturge Yvette Nolan, the play encourages people to think about their direct impact on the planet and how they can make positive changes, said Pewapsconias, who plays Auroch, one of the scouts sent to explore another planet.
“I think it’s an opportunity for people to check themselves … It’s a nice, gentle reminder to everybody that we all play a part.”
It’s a message Sheirer would like people to take seriously.
“As much as I want people to enjoy the fun show that we’re putting on, I really want them to think about what we need to do to change on the small scale, in the micro and the macro, to take care of this planet of ours,” he said.
The play also imagines a positive first contact with the Indigenous inhabitants of another planet.
“I think this is a really nice opportunity to present … what could happen if we do things the right way, if we actually listen and try to communicate with people, with the unknown, embrace the unknown. And how we can all come together collectively,” Pewapsconias said.
Working with Sum Theatre for the first time, Pewapsconias said they look forward to interacting with the children in the audience.
“I’m excited for them to light up and see this whole different world that we’ve created for them to observe.”
For his last production with the theatre, Scheirer said he’s excited to reach a wide, new audience with the park shows.
“We bring this free theatre to people where it might not otherwise be accessible. And I’m so grateful that I get to be a part of that one last time … to go out on such a positive note with people that I love and this great community that we’ve built.”
Zero Gravity runs in parks around Saskatoon May 18 to June 25 and in Regina from June 4 to 10, then heads to northern communities from June 26 to 29. American Sign Language interpreters and audio description accessibility will be available at select shows. A full schedule is available at sumtheatre.com/shows/theatre-in-the-park.
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