Art & Politics

Campus theaters explore environmental and social justice


Theater has long served as fertile ground for new ideas to germinate, with playwrights boldly questioning the status quo and planting the seeds of change.

Eugene audiences will have the opportunity to examine two politically charged plays, as the University of Oregon Department of Theatre Arts presents Chantal Bilodeau’s Sila: An Arctic Story and Lane Community College’s Theatre Department performs Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes.

Set on Baffin Island in the outer reaches of northern Canada, Bilodeau’s Sila follows the intersecting lives of a climate scientist, an Inuit activist, two Coast Guard officers, an Inuit elder and a pair of polar bears (yes, polar bears) as it shines a snow-blinding light on the challenges they all face. This West Coast premiere, directed by Theresa May, features three languages and utilizes puppetry, projection, poetry and myth to investigate our environmental interconnectedness.

Sila is recommended for ages 13 and up, and runs 8 pm April 16-18 and April 23-25, with a 2 pm matinee April 26, at the Hope Theatre on the UO campus. Tickets are $14-$16, free for UO students.

And it’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 25 years since Kushner’s Angels in America premiered. Funny, powerful and haunting, Kushner’s “Theatre of the Fabulous” revels in the dynamic between real and unreal, past and future, fantasy and farce.

Award-winning Angels in America easily finds its place as one of the most important plays of the 20th century. With a rapier wit and empathetic ear, Kushner’s prescient work skewers the Reagan-era reaction to the AIDS crisis, while still finding love and hope in a world turned upside-down.

LCC Theatre presents a full production of Kushner’s Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, directed by Brian Haimbach, at 7 pm April 24-25 and May 1-2 and at 2 pm April 26. Part Two: Perestroika will be presented in an enhanced staged reading 6 pm on April 26, 7 pm on April 30 and at 2 pm May 3. But audience marathoners are encouraged to attend both plays Sunday, April 26.

Between the two shows, food will be available for purchase, and global HIV activist Ethan Guillen will be on hand to discuss the current state of the HIV/AIDS crisis. This production is for adult audiences only. Tickets are $5-$10. — Rachael Carnes

For tickets to Sila, call 346-4363. For tickets to Angels in America, call 463-5161.