By Lee Christie
The Royal Court Theatre in England ran Richard Bean’s controversial play ‘The Heretic’ for six-weeks in 2011. Now, the play has sparked up a new controversy as it is set to run from 12th May to 23rd June in The MTC Theatre in Melbourne, Australia.
The play follows the character of Dr Diane Cassell, a serious climate scientist, who presents the facts without bias. Her pioneering discoveries, however, present difficulty as they challenge the scientific consensus of global warming driven by human activity. Dr Cassell finds herself facing up against pressure from her peers, and death threats from a militant environmental group conspiring to suppress the truth.
Following its English run, the play has received mixed reviews from quite positive, to scathingly harsh. Intended as a black comedy, ‘The Heretic’ may canonically take place in a world in which global warming really is an environmentalist conspiracy, however, as a review by Bishop Hill points out, the play touches on many real-life stories. Some may find this confuses fact with fiction:
“In a feat of Montfordian proportions nearly all the major recent climate change stories are woven into the play: the lack of sea level rise, the politicisation of science by the IPCC, Glaciergate, the logarithmic effect of CO2 (in a way you will never forget), the misanthropy of some environmentalist groups, the ‘one-tree’ hockey stick, and, of course, Climategate. But the issues are put on the table, without arm twisting, encouraging the audience to go out and do their own research.” (Bishop Hill – 12th February 2011)
Despite consensus among the scientific community, the existence of anthropogenic climate change remains a controversial topic in media and now, it seems, in the arts.