Rising sea levels. Rural to urban migration. Intense storms. Job loss. These are just of a few of the topics explored in Zach Theater’s latest play for children, The Six Seasons. Artists from the Glass Half Full Theater take the audience on a trip around the world, with the help of small puppets, to explore the impacts of climate change on us all.
In addition to a scene in rural Texas, The Six Seasons stops in the Arctic, India, Africa, Italy and the Philippines. Artists guide the puppets through sets made with found, recycled and repurposed materials while music and limited dialogue takes place. In between each scene, a narrator gives a personal account of what has been changing in each place. The audience is challenged to make choices to chart the course toward a different future.
The play’s three performances will take place on:
Saturday, January 24th at 11am
Sunday, January 31st at 11am and 2pm
Zach recommends the play for ages 7 and up, and the run time is approximately 45 minutes.
I had the opportunity to preview The Six Seasons, along with students at the EcoSchool and environmental educators. As someone who has worked on the issue of climate change, I was curious about how the artists would help children understand an issue which is difficult for adults to grasp and how we could leave feeling hopeful about the future.
The play opens in the Arctic to a touching interplay between a mother and baby polar bear. The artists do an amazing job manipulating the puppets across the landscapes and making each scene truly come to life. I found myself watching the children, hoping they were as enthralled as I was, and noticed a few literally at the edge of their seats. The narrator describes the changes in her community as a story, so children can see the issue not as a headline or a chapter in a science textbook, but how it might affect a kid just like them.
Although I do expect adults will feel a heavy heart toward the end of the The Six Seasons, the play closes with the message that we are all in this together and all can play a part in changing the course of history. The play is a good reminder that through storytelling, we can open our child’s horizons and help them care enough to change the world.