Anthropo-scenes: Staging climate chaos in the drama of bad ideas

Una Chaudhuri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The scale and complexity of climate change, as well as its often incremental and unspectacular nature, pose formidable obstacles to dramatic representation. Wallace Shawn’s recent play Grasses of a Thousand Colors subtly distorts the conventions of the thesis play, or drama of ideas, to reveal the habits of mind that are responsible for our species’ steady progress towards ecological disaster. A ‘drama of bad ideas’ for the Anthropocene, the play also uses some of Shawn’s abiding themes, especially food and sex, to propose a new understanding of the human, beyond psychological subjecthood and socio-political agency: the human as a geophysical force, with behaviours and practices that produce catastrophic ‘scale-effects’ and call for a new species-centric consciousness to cure the ecological myopia of previous group identities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTwenty-First Century Drama
Subtitle of host publicationWhat Happens Now
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781137484031
ISBN (Print)9781137484024
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Anthropocene
  • Caryl Churchill
  • Climate change
  • Drama of bad ideas
  • Ecotheatre
  • Scale
  • Wallace Shawn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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