Danny Bloom
I seek the truth wherever it lies.

The play’s the thing: ‘Extreme Weather’ creates headlines and a ‘cli-fi’ drama titled ‘Extreme Whether’

Extreme weather worldwide has been creating global newspaper headlines without let-up and now a New York theater company is getting into the act as well. Welcome to the current production of a cli-fi stage play titled “Extreme Whether.” It’s running for 18 days from now until March 18th in Manhattan.

The headlines? Just look around!

“Storm Emma: Red ‘extreme weather’ warning in place”

“Heavy Snow Traps Hundreds Overnight on M80 in Scotland”

“Irish Stock Exchange to close due to ‘extreme weather conditions”

“Storm Emma: UK snow could reach 50cm as conditions worsen”

So from March 1 to 18, La MaMa will present Theater Three Collaborative in a new production for audiences in 2018 of “Extreme Whether,” a “Cli-Fi” play written and directed by Karen Malpede. The piece juxtaposes psychological and magical realism in a tale of a courageous climate researcher who is defamed by special interests, including his own family. Obie-winner Rocco Sisto heads a cast of six.

Set during the record-hot summers of 2004 and 2012, the play pits a scientist named John Bjornson (Rocco Sisto) against his twin sister, Jeanne (Dee Pelletier), in a no-holds barred struggle over land ownership and the future use of their family’s wilderness estate. The sister is an energy spokeswoman and is married to a climate-skeptic lobbyist (Khris Lewin), who helps strategize her actions. The siblings’ dispute reveals the fault lines in America today over land usage, global warming and climate denial. Supporting John’s struggle for the land are three people. One is the caretaker of the estate, an oracular, Thoreau-like man named Uncle (Obie-winner George Bartenieff). The others are John’s precocious 13-year old intersex daughter (Emma Rose Kraus) and a young ice scientist with an important new theory (Clea Straus Rivera).

“Extreme Whether” was developed by Theater Three Collaborative, in a series of readings and workshops at The Cherry Lane Theater, Columbia University, the NY Horticulture Society and Theater for New City in 2013-14 and was subsequently performed in Paris, as a part of ARTCOP, the series of arts events surrounding the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21).

Extreme weather? Or “Extreme Whether?”

If you’re in the New York City area, catch the play. If you’re far away or overseas, but still interested in the stage drama, check the reviews later in the New York Times and the Village Voice. The play’s the thing.

About the Author
Dan Bloom curates The Cli-Fi Report at He graduated from Tufts University in Boston in 1971 with a major in Modern Literature. A newspaper editor and reporter since his days in Washington, D.C., Juneau, Alaska, Tokyo, Japan and Taipei, Taiwan, he has lived and worked 5 countries and speaks rudimentary French, Japanese and Chinese. He hopes to live for a few more years.