NewsPub Notes

Athens Resident Alan Flurry’s New Play Tackles Climate Change

Suppose you, unlike most people, start taking climate change seriously. Suppose, too, that your skills lie in areas having to do with communication—you’re a writer, a publicist, a blogger; you interview people on television. So when you start taking something seriously, something as all-encompassing as climate change, you naturally begin thinking about how to share your climate concerns, which, you realize, should concern us all, but which you know are far from most people’s consciousness.

Climate change is so far from our everyday lives (and so near) that it is almost impossible for the finest scientific and academic minds to wake us up. But if you’re Alan Flurry, who has all the communication skills mentioned above, plus more (he’s a drummer), you’re still going to have a go at finding a vehicle that tries to bridge the wide gap between everyday and everywhere.

Alan’s solution is to write a play. You say that’s more likely to put them to sleep than wake them up. Nevertheless, a communicator communicates, and Alan has written a play about climate change, which will have a staged reading a couple of times next week, directed by Alexis Nichols.

Flurry uses the device of a play within a play, or actually several plays within a play. The main through-line belongs to the character known as “Director.” Director, you see, is staging a play and is at the point of read-throughs when he begins musing with Adam, one of the actors. In fact, Director, thanks to split staging and multiple time frames, is staging several plays, but the one foremost in his mind is about climate change. So, we’ve got all the plays in the process of production, but Director continues to bring us back to the main event—his preoccupation with climate change.

Director—and Flurry—has taken on the challenge of saying something we can grasp without boring the hell out of us with a talky, preachy play. At the same time, in order to address the complicated concept of climate change, you’ve got to bring up the science that underlies it all. That is the job of Director and Flurry in the main play, which takes place during a shipboard expedition, with the actors playing scientists, one of whom is seasick, collecting ocean readings that will be used to analyze the effects of various pollutants on life in the ocean—life that is vital to our own lives, which is the point of the play. It ain’t just a concept: It’s life or death for our planet, and, by the way, if the planet continues on its present trajectory, there pretty quickly won’t be any more need to worry about the price of lattes, because the big blue marble will be brown, and Jittery Joe’s will be roasted.

After lots of scientific discussions and action in several peripheral plays, Flurry brings it all to a quiet close (spoiler alert).

DIRECTOR: Well that… and that all this—the science, these elaborate mechanisms, can exist alongside people falling in love, politics, middle class strife, wars—we can be so advanced and still need to get back to basics.

SANDRA: I know. It’s amazing that kid can understand what he knows and still be hopeful.

DIRECTOR: (shaking his head) Emily was right.

ADAM: Emily?

SANDRA: Our Town.

DIRECTOR: Yes—what was your line at the end?

SANDRA: Earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.

DIRECTOR: And then she takes her place among the dead.

ADAM: But we’re not Emily; we get to stay.

SANDRA: That’s a thing. It’s not too late for us to realize it, to appreciate the earth. Wonderful, but not too.

DIRECTOR: That’s it. (beat) Now you can go.

ADAM and SANDRA smile optimistically. Stage lights dim.


Athens Playwrights Workshop presents a staged reading of Too Wonderful for Anybody Saturday, May 13 at 8 p.m. in the Cellar Theatre of the UGA Fine Arts Building, free, and again on Tuesday, May 16 at 8 p.m. in the Cellar Theatre as an adjacent event of the 2023 Georgia Climate Conference, also free.

WHO: Too Wonderful for Anybody staged readings
WHEN: Saturday, May 13 & Tuesday, May 16, 8 p.m.
WHERE: Cellar Theatre, UGA Fine Arts Building