Lecture is now available for viewing on our YouTube channel.
The climate and ecological emergency is also a crisis of the imagination. We find ourselves in “a space between stories” (Charles Eisenstein), struggling to find language, symbols, and mythic images with the power to wake us up, clarify our existential situation, connect us with our love for the living world, and orient us toward action.
Coming one month after mass protests around Westminster by Extinction Rebellion and a coalition of environmental groups in late April 2023, this talk will examine the climate justice movement’s use of imagery and narrative to mobilize support and capture the collective imagination. It will also show how the media and general public often respond to the mythic outline of disruptive actions rather than to the message or intentions of the activists carrying them out.
The talk will take as its central reference point the ancient Greek myth of Erysichthon, the arrogant king of Thessaly who cut down the sacred grove of Demeter. The dynamics of the Erysichthon story can provide us with the foundation for an expanded definition of “eco-drama,” one that includes protest and nonviolent civil disobedience as modes of socio-dramatic action. The talk will also examine the rewards and risks in invoking that most potent of heroic narratives: the myth of “saving the world.”
The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session.
About the speaker:
DANIEL LARLHAM is a performance researcher and theatre maker with a PhD in theatre from Columbia University and an MFA in acting from NYU. He has held academic appointments at Yale University’s Theater Studies Program, the Freie Universität Berlin (as a Humboldt Foundation Research Fellow), and Saint Mary’s College of California. Daniel is spending the 2022-23 academic year as a visiting Fulbright Scholar at the University of Roehampton, London. His research project, “Heroism in the Anthropocene,” examines eco-activism in the UK from a mytho-dramatic perspective.
This is a hybrid lecture, hosted at both Benjamin Franklin House and live-streamed via Zoom. In person-attendees are invited to attend a pre-talk drinks reception in Franklin’s Parlour. Please arrive anytime after 4:30pm.
Booking is required.