Sila

By Chantal Bilodeau
Introduction by Megan Sandberg-Zakian

Sila
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In Inuit mythology, “sila” means air, climate, or breath. Bilodeau’s play of the same name examines the competing interests shaping the future of the Canadian Arctic and local Inuit population. Equal parts Inuit myth and contemporary Arctic policy, the play Sila features ... Read more


Overview

In Inuit mythology, “sila” means air, climate, or breath. Bilodeau’s play of the same name examines the competing interests shaping the future of the Canadian Arctic and local Inuit population. Equal parts Inuit myth and contemporary Arctic policy, the play Sila features puppetry, spoken word poetry, and three different languages (English, French, and Inuktitut).

There is more afoot in the Arctic than one might think. On Baffin Island in the territory of Nunavut, eight characters – including a climatologist, an Inuit activist and her son, and two polar bears – find their values challenged as they grapple with a rapidly changing environment and world. Sila captures the fragility of life and the interconnectedness of lives, both human and animal, and reveals in gleaming tones that telling the stories of everyday challenges – especially raising children and maintaining family ties – is always more powerful than reciting facts
and figures.

Our changing climate will have a significant impact on how we organize ourselves. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Arctic, where warming temperatures are displacing entire ecosystems. The Arctic Cycle – eight plays that examine the impact of climate change on the eight countries of the Arctic – poignantly addresses this issue. Sila is the first play of The Arctic Cycle. With its large-as-life polar bear puppets, the play is evocative and mesmerizing, beautifully blurring the boundaries between folklore and science.

Chantal Bilodeau

Chantal Bilodeau is a Montréal-born, New York-based playwright and translator whose work focuses on the intersection of science, policy, art, and climate change. She is the founding artistic director of the Arts & Climate Initiative (formerly The Arctic Cycle) and over the past decade has been instrumental in getting the theatre and educational communities, as well as audiences in the US and abroad, to engage in climate action through programming that includes live events, talks, publications, workshops, national and international convenings, and a worldwide-distributed theatre festival. Awards include the Woodward International Playwriting Prize as well as First Prize in the Earth Matters on Stage Ecodrama Playwrights Festival and the Uprising National Playwriting Competition. Her plays and translations have been presented in a dozen countries around the world and she had edited or co-edited three anthologies of short plays about the climate crisis. In 2019, she was named one of “8 Trailblazers Who Are Changing the Climate Conversation” by Audubon Magazine.

Reviews

“Is it possible to write a play about global warming that isn't talking heads but a dramatic story that draws us in and makes for engaging theater? The French Canadian playwright Chantal Bilodeau has proven it's more than possible with her deeply moving play Sila . ..”
Arlington Wicked Local

“This production of ‘Sila’ is true to its name—it will enable each audience member to take a deep breath and to think about his or her role in the earth’s ecology. ”
Open Media Boston

“Bilodeau draws not only parallels, but direct connections to the loss of balance and nature, and losses that affected and afflict human life. ”
Edge Boston

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