The Wilting Point, written by Graziella Jackson, Keegan Theatre’s 2022-2023 Playwright in Residence, and directed by Danielle A. Drakes, opens on reporter and host of the award-winning podcast Clime, Mina Melo (Beverlix Jean-Baptiste) as she records the introduction to her latest episode. As she ruminates on a recent project by an artist who launched a bonsai tree into space and billionaire Maximillian Wasser’s (Silas Gordon Brigham) plans for colonizing Mars, Mina wrestles with dueling philosophies of eco-nihilism and optimism, a central preoccupation of the play. In looking at the images from this strange bonsai tree project, she reflects, she feels something she hasn’t felt in a long time: hope.
The Wilting Point, as described by playwright Graziella Jackson, was written to act as a time capsule. Certainly, it succeeds in demonstrating the staggering chaos and complexity of modern life, the sense of overwhelm that comes from all we’re asked to digest in a single day. As such, it seems reductive to call The Wilting Point a play about climate change, though that is certainly its central preoccupation. It’s also about the effect of dwindling local media landscapes, the tension between familial duty and personal ambition, the potentially life-changing effect of immersing oneself in one’s community, the power found in using one’s voice to advocate for change, the dangers of unchecked technological progress and greed, as well as the personal sacrifices one may make in choosing to act for the greater good.
With all of this in mind, The Wilting Point urges us to consider those who tended to and inhabited the earth before us and to imagine those who will come after we are long gone. It asks, what world will we give them to inherit?