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The climate is right for 'Snow Day'

"Snow Day" performance at Hobgoblin. Sarah Hansen / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 4
"Snow Day" performance at Hobgoblin. Sarah Hansen / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 4
Jeff Chalmers and Sara Shannon as Jeffrey and Wendy Olson in "Snow Day." David Oakes / Submitted photo3 / 4
Modern caveman Ray, played by Jesse Stewart, shows off his latest kill. David Oakes / Submitted photo4 / 4

"Snow Day" begins and ends in a small room in a small town somewhere between now and the end of civilization.

The cost of ignoring global climate change has finally taken its toll and the second ice age has come. It's below freezing outside, but Wendy and Jerry Olson, played by Sara Shannon and Jeff Chalmers, are ready to warmly receive their closest friends for a tropical-themed evening of poker, drinking and conversation.

While some, like their daughter's live-in boyfriend Ray (played by Jesse Stewart), are joyously learning to hunt squirrels, forage for goods and in all possible ways live like a caveman — not everyone is so willing to adapt to the change.

Jerry's career with the Department of Natural Resources was cut short due to a distinct lack of nature, so he remains unemployed and free to watch Green Bay Packers football games every single day. All vintage, of course, because every open air football stadium in America has been closed due to unrelenting winter.

Emma, a religious zealot played by Sara Hoffman, has the brightest outlook of all. She's bought into a new view of the gospel that teaches Jesus will be reborn in a garage — probably, hopefully somewhere nearby — and laid to rest in a storage tub.

Whether the natural reaction is to save their self, to give up on life, or to wait for a savior to come — it's pretty clear that there's nothing anyone in this room can do to make the world right again. So they might as well just drink.

Old friendships wear thin as the cast of 10 remain cooped up for the evening, and "Snow Day" offers well-delivered punchy creative comedy to help break the growing tension.

Being that there are no set changes, the real props are the character's strongly held beliefs, and this ensemble cast shines as they hilariously hold up and examine each one.

"Even though this is a comedy, there is a message," said Terese Bjornstad. She plays Audrey: a teacher concerned with scientific fact who is just as frustrated by climate change denier Carter (played by Neil Lahammer) as she is with her self-involved students.

Bjornstad continued, "The characters were comfortable with their lives so they ignored what was going on and then the crazy things scientists predicted came true. Even though this is a comedy, it makes me take a really hard look at climate change and what we need to do to protect the planet for the next generation."

"Snow Day" is a story that's timed perfectly for our current season and our current political environment. Even indoors, it convincingly sets the chilly tone of winter and dares the audience to imagine what the world would be like without birds and cicadas and green grass to greet us on the other side.

"'Snow Day' comes at climate change from such a unique perspective," said actor Lahammer. "It's sure to spark conversation which is the first step in change."

"Snow Day" is the first play for adults written by local author Jacqueline West. It's being presented by the Soapbox Players at Hobgoblin Music Loft 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 2017.

Min MartinOakes is directing this world premiere performance.

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