Can this be true? Has the climate shifted so much? Because – amazing – The Melbourne Theatre Company announces the Australian Premiere in May of Richard Bean’s The Heretic.
Dr Diane Cassell is a serious scientist lecturing in what has become the cool degree at university; Climate Science. But with the popularity comes pressure to conform.
For nearly twenty years, Diane has been measuring sea levels in the Maldives. When her empirical data contradicts the prevailing view on the causes for climate change, she finds herself pressured by her funding-driven boss Professor Kevin Maloney, not to publish her findings.
Diane’s life really heats up as her nonconformist stance puts her job, her life and her family in jeopardy, following death threats from the Sacred Earth Militia. Adding to her troubles is concern for her daughter, Phoebe, who is struggling with anorexia and is attracted to Diane’s student, Ben, a fervent environmentalist. With the political getting personal and the personal political, the play questions what is important to us.
The Maldives reference seems based on the research by Dr Nils Axel-Morner.
And, no, it’s not a trick. From the review by Bishop Hill:
In a feat of Montfordian proportions nearly all the major recent climate change stories are woven into the play: the lack of sea level rise, the politicisation of science by the IPCC, Glaciergate, the logarithmic effect of CO2 (in a way you will never forget), the misanthropy of some environmentalist groups, the ‘one-tree’ hockey stick, and, of course, Climategate. But the issues are put on the table, without arm twisting, encouraging the audience to go out and do their own research.
What is central to the play is the importance of empirical science. The drama of the play reveals that it is a matter of maturity and character to find and stick with what is true.