Student Blog: Epic Theatre at IndyFringe

Climate Follies is still running for the next two weekends. If you’re in the Indy area, I would highly recommend seeing this dynamic piece of theatre.

By: Aug. 25, 2021
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Student Blog: Epic Theatre at IndyFringe

In my last post, I talked with director and Butler alum, Raphael Schwartzman, about Climate Follies. Since that interview, I was able to attend a few rehearsals as well as opening night of the show.

What really strikes me about Climate Follies is the use of Brechtian-style theatre to create the atmosphere of the play as a whole. Brecht's style, also known as Epic Theatre, relies on the Estrangement Effect. Through various tech and acting techniques, the audience remains very aware that they're watching a play. They are not allowed to fall into the reality of the play.

I have never seen a play in this style. I have, however, read scripts meant to be performed in the style of Epic Theatre. I can't say I was much of a fan, but seeing Climate Follies totally changed that. The play is about the climate crisis and a big part of that is big corporations. The fact that the audience was able to see most of the props and the costumes were very low key represented perfectly that these actors were just people speaking out against the direction we as a planet are headed. Elaborate costumes and traditional play characteristics would have made it harder for the audience to connect as deeply as they did with the actors' anger.

The play balanced the serious with comedy incredibly well. Every time I saw the show, I was laughing, and I saw it quite a few times. My favorite scene was "Career Day." The actors play a group of kids, and a guest speaker comes in to talk about jobs that will be useful during the oncoming climate crisis. The kids are so funny, rolling around and talking back. The scene ends sullenly though as the guest speaker gets serious about the possibility of the end of the world and life as we know it. With the change in tone came a switch in audience. The actor playing the guest speaker turned from the sleeping children to the audience and began addressing us directly. The same went for all more serious parts of the play. They were always directed at the audience. Fourth wall breaks are another ever present aspect of Epic Theatre. It breaks the audience from being in a fantasy, play world and brings them to the real world. The real world with a real climate crisis that needs to be solved.

Climate Follies is still running for the next two weekends. If you're in the Indy area, I would highly recommend seeing this dynamic piece of theatre. You will laugh, cry, and get angry with the actors on stage. See the show at the Oasis Room in the Murat on 8/28 at 3 p.m., 8/29 at 6 p.m., 9/3 at 9 p.m., or 9/4 at 4:30 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets go to


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