A Next Wave x Vitalstatistix co-commission
Presented by The SUBSTATION
77 keyboard warriors, 4 days, 191 comments. Stripped of their anonymity, Australia’s loudest climate denialists are pitted against the eco-conscious in a fast, ferocious, and ultimately futile game of one-upmanship. Nothing much is at stake. Only the planet.
Drawing on the comments submitted to Kate Hennessy’s 2016 Guardian article about David Finnigan’s play, Kill Climate Deniers, Below The Line is a vital new theatre work exploring climate denialism, online comment culture, and our complicity in the unfolding catastrophe of climate change.
Over 75-minutes, five performers embody 77 online commenters as their irreconcilable worldviews clash head on. Disconnected from each other, the world, and themselves, they have nowhere to go except their own ever-shrinking echo chambers. What emerges is a surreal, apocalyptic vision of a broken conversation playing out its death throes while the world burns.
Created by playwright and theatre-maker Ben Brooker in collaboration with designer Meg Wilson, choreographer Alison Currie, and dramaturg Bridget Mackey, Below The Line is a riveting indictment of how we talk about the climate emergency. As unprecedented fires rage across Australia, it asks: who gets to speak? Who do we listen to? And what happens when an overheated world revolts against us all?
This production contains theatrical haze effects, dynamic sound and lighting. It also contains mature themes and some coarse language. Audience members who experience sensory overload are encouraged to speak to the venue before booking tickets.
Mature themes: references to current environmental, cultural and political issues which may cause distress to some audience members.
Mature themes: references of racism and xenophobia
Mature themes: references of sexism
Below The Line is supported by MakeSpace, ActNow Theatre, and Slingsby Theatre Company.
Thanks to Kate Power, David Finnigan, Kate Hennessy and Michael Allen.
Conceived and Directed by Ben Brooker
Dramaturgy by Bridget Mackey
Design by Meg Wilson
Sound Design by Sidney Millar
Movement by Alison Currie
Performed by Zola Allen, Alison Currie, Max Garcia-Underwood, and Lachy Barnett
Ben Brooker is a writer, editor, critic, playwright, essayist, and bookseller. His plays have been performed in Sydney and Adelaide, including by the award-winning Adelaide independent theatre companies five.point.one and SAYarts. In 2016-17 he was an inaugural Sydney Review of Books Emerging Critics Fellow and in 2018-19 was writer-in-residence at the Mill. His latest performance projects include commissions by Hopgood Theatre Youth Theatre Project, ActNow Theatre, and OzAsia Festival.