Earth Matters on Stage: Sustainable Practice

Many of the lectures here at EMOS are held at the very-new Hope Theater at the University of Oregon’s Miller Theatre Complex. Boom: there’s a big square fact to start the post off for you. But I’m going somewhere with it.

Right now, where the Hope would be a big black box is all full up with Set. The floor is painted in a curling desert-river pattern. Upstage is a forest of recycled wooden planks and juttings, a kind of grandpa’s-attic bamboo. In one corner is a platform with puzzle-piece innards: old bedposts, chairs and plywood fold over each other in a hefty collage.

It’s all for the stagings of the Festival’s top two prize-winning playsSong of Extinction and Atomic Farmgirl. But what was intended to represent a Bolivian forest and an American farm has come to represent the EMOS festival itself, both literally and figuratively: the set was  constructed with recycled materials.

Today’s sessions were sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts. Led by Ian Garrett, they included presentations by Steve Mital, University of Oregon’s Director of Sustainability, PhD candidate (and EMOS Production Manager) Damond Morris, several eco-conscious designers, and several pioneers of a Sustainable Dramaturgy program at CalArts.

At this point: it’s day seven. Everyone in the room knows each other, at least by sight. We’re calling each other out in the audience: could you talk about your experience with . . . what’s your perspective on . . . and what begins as a formal presentation becomes a group conversation quickly and easily.

Inspired by Mike Lawler, here are a few questions asked in the course of the day (some got answered, some did not):

What is a “sustainable university”?

What is the impact of a theatrical lighting system?

Where in this stream can we reduce our waste?

What are the next steps in expanding/refining sustainable pedagogy?

How do we reframe our relationship to resources?

How can we implement what we believe in the art we create?

If your curiosity is piqued, I’d encourage you to visit the CSPA’s wiki for tools and nuggets of information. As to the rest, I leave you with Morris’ Five D’s of Design for Environment:

Design for Dissasembly. Design for Recyclability. Design for Disposability. Design for Reusability. Design for Remanufacture.

See you on the other side of  a recycled-wooden forest.

Go to the Green Museum