Climate Cabaret got its start after a talk by James Hansen at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Nov. 19, 2010. In the solemn halls of the Institute, where complex equations might more typically be projected onto the big screen, Hansen instead started with pictures of his grandkids, who will have to live with the consequences of what we do and don't do. It was one of many talks heard over the years, as climate change was rising ever higher in my awareness, its dark portents looming large over my modest efforts to restore habitat in a local nature preserve. At some point, while cutting down invasive shrubs to make room for native species in a local woods, comic theatrical scenes having to do with climate started coming to mind. After so many years of writing and working towards sustainability, applying steady pressure against the walls of resistance, the scenes came as a welcome comic relief, a way to inject some fun into all the earnest effort.
Hansen's appearance in town was a bit of chemistry, bringing minds together, energizing our thoughts and hearts, and in the socializing afterwards I ran into a friend and local actress/activist, Basha Parmet. We got to talking, and she urged me to get the scenes down on paper. With that catalyst, a first version of Breaking Up With Your Car was ready for a read-through a week later.