The end of the world? NAU Theatre hosts debate in preparation for upcoming post-apocalyptic play

Poster for theater debate

March 27, 2019

The Northern Arizona University Theater Department presents the Great Survival Debate based on their upcoming performance of “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play.” During this debate, members of different NAU departments will discuss what is needed to build a future after an apocalypse.

“Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” follows a group of apocalyptic survivors and their time around the campfire reminiscing about an episode of “The Simpsons.” Each act takes place a few years later and as the years go on the story about episode changes. With a dark twist, the characters realize why we tell stories.

NAU’s Great Survival Debate is modeled after a long-standing annual tradition at the University of Montevallo in central Alabama that questions what is necessary for rebuilding a post-disaster society.

“The Departments of Theatre and Philosophy have designed our own NAU version of the epic debate,” said theatre chair and play director Kathleen McGeever. “This year’s debate will focus on a post-apocalyptic/post-electrical period in our near future where only one discipline can move into the future as we shape our new society. In the spirit of mischief, NAU experts will argue why their discipline is the one needed to ensure the future of the world!”

The participants/debaters include:

  • Emcees: Kathleen McGeever and Chair of Philosophy Julie Piering
  • Comparative cultural studies assistant professor of practice Stephanie Stallings
  • School of Art senior lecturer David Van Ness
  • English professor Nicole Walker
  • Director of Women’s and Gender Studies Sanjam Ahluwalia
  • Director of Sustainable Communities Peter Friederici
  • Devil’s advocate: Philosophy Director Stephen Lenhart 

The debate, which takes place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on April 5 at the Clifford E. White Theater, is free and open to the public.

Tallie Valverde