UNH Tackles Climate Change, Culture Clash With Production of “Sila”

Natalie Bujeaud (l) and Melissa Snow (r)

Natalie Bujeaud (l) and Melissa Snow (r)

Opening tomorrow, February 19, “Sila” is the first winning play from the Woodward International Playwriting Competition to be produced by the UNH Department of Theatre and Dance.

“Sila” was selected from more than 149 submissions and written by NYC based Canadian playwright, Chantal Bilodeau. The play examines the competing interests shaping the future of the Canadian Arctic and local Inuit population. Set on Baffin Island in the territory of Nunavut, it follows a climate scientist, an Inuit activist and her daughter, two Canadian Coast Guard officers, an Inuit elder and two polar bears as they see their values challenged and their lives become intricately intertwined. Equal parts Inuit myth and contemporary Arctic policy, “Sila” uses puppetry, projections, spoken word poetry and three different languages; English, French and Inuktitut.

“I have now worked on this play for over a year and a half, and I still love it,” says professor Deb Kinghorn, director of the play. “I love what it says and how it says it. I love that the play is not just about climate change; it is about people coming together, honoring other cultures, respecting nature, and learning that no one has all the answers, which makes sharing and working together vital, if we are to progress without further damage.”

The creative team has invited scientists, activists, and artists to join them on the stage on various evenings to explore the questions raised by “Sila” and to learn what we can do to create the change we wish to see in the world.

“It’s what theatre does best,” says Kinghorn, “and I think we are going to do it well.”

The play runs February 19 – 22 at 7:00 p.m. and February 23 at 2:00 p.m. in the UNH Johnson Theatre. Call 603-862-7222 or visit http://unharts.com for ticket information.

This production is part of Cultural Stages: Woodward International Drama and Dance Initiative, a project funded by Ellis Woodward, UNH Class of ’74.

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