ArtLab, an organization that explores the connections between art and science, will join Superhero Clubhouse’s 4th Annual Big Green Theater, a program coordinated by the clubhouse and the Bushwick Starr this Friday. Additional performances of the plays will be held on April 26 and April 27 also at the Bushwick Starr.
By Pamela Segura
Big Green Theater is an eco-playwriting program that produces the works of fifth graders from P.S. 123, a public school in Bushwick. The show with ArtLab will feature not only eco-minded plays, but also conversations led by Jeremy Pickard, the founder of Superhero Clubhouse, Bushwick Starr creative director Noel Joseph Allain, and environmental scientists Dr. Jennifer Jacquet and Dr. Katherine Alfredo.
ArtLab, the Superhero Clubhouse and the Bushwick Starr share an interest in spreading environmental awareness to Brooklyn communities and beyond. The three organizations celebrate Earth Week by using local voices and resources to reduce the global effects of environmental harms and breathe life to a more sustainable culture.
“I’ve called Bushwick home for the last two years,” Maryam Zaringhalam, the founder of ArtLab, said. “I think what Big Green Theater is doing to raise eco-awareness in the local community is really phenomenal. I’m thrilled that they were able to add a special extra performance for ArtLab.”
Zaringhalam, who has held ArtLab series that focus on the connections between science, music, and film, was drawn by the Big Green Theater’s focus on education beyond the classroom.
“Giving these students a creative outlet to really explore what they're learning from the scientists that visit the Big Green Theater is hugely inspiring,” Zaringhalam said. Zaringhalam compared Big Green Theater to the STEM-to-STEAM movement. STEM-to-STEAM is an initiative led by the Rhode Island School of Design that aims to inject art and design into science, technology, engineering, and math classes.
Jeremy Pickard, the founder of Superhero Clubhouse, works with the same premise. In a 2013 blog he wrote for the Theatre Communications Group, Pickard determines that “eco-theater is ultimately about defining and articulating new mythologies for a tumultuous and changing world.” He writes that, like the droughts and ever-violent storms that change the landscape of the planet, plays too have to change.
He mentions the ways in which this change is already apparent, in writing as well as everyday life. “We are writing plays on laptops powered with coal from ancient American mountain ranges now permanently destroyed, we run from our day jobs eating take-out made from factory-farmed meat and high fructose corn syrup,” he writes. “Ecology is the silent conflict at the heart of our days. Can’t it also be at the heart of our plays?”
ArtLab’s special performance for Big Green Theater is on April 25. The festival will also run April 26-27, with shows at 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm. The 4:00 pm show is free. Tickets can be purchased here.