Staging the (Anthropos)cene: An Exploration of Climate Change and the Human Through Playwrighting pursues the question, “how do we put climate change on stage?” Beginning from this broad point of entry, the work considers some theoretical lenses which make sense of climate change’s complex elements: new materialism and posthumanism. Perhaps the greatest intervention of theory comes with the project’s recognition of climate change’s history, noting that, because the phenomenon was created by colonialism, it should be investigated through critical race theory; such an intervention, it is proposed, will highlight the cultural underpinnings of the actions creating climate change. From the critical understandings pulled from theory, the project analyzes Suzan-Lori Parks’ The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World as a model for staging some of the findings.

The work takes three forms: the first is a critical thesis, which is contained here in the Introduction and Chapters 1 through 3. The second form was a play which attempted to answer the critical question through practice; the play is contained as Chapter 4. The third form—a staged reading of the play—Is not contained here, but is commented on in Chapter 3. Ultimately, it is suggested that the play may not have completely answered the critical question, but instead highlighted the need for more works which interrogate the idea of the “human” within the terms of climate change.


Barnard, John

Second Advisor

Huston-Findley, Shirley


English; Theatre and Dance


Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | Performance Studies | Playwriting


Climate change, Anthropocene, New materialism, Posthumanism, Critical Race Theory

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2019 Daniel L. Myers