Phanésia on Short Play “And Other Dreams We Had”

From June 8-25, City Theatre’s Summer Shorts will perform  eight short plays by Miami’s best emerging playwrights at the Arsht Center. In this series the playwrights shared a little with the Jitney about their work.

I initially wrote “And Other Dreams We Had” during my time as an apprentice at Powerhouse Vassaar/New York Stage and Film a few years ago. My intention was to create a two-person play focusing on the topic of climate change, which has always been at the forefront of my thoughts.

Growing up on a Dragonfruit farm near the Everglades, I have witnessed the gradual ecological shifts over time. I know destruction is immenent because I’ve seen it. Climate change has been an ongoing issue even before my birth, and it has proven to be a challenging subject to write about.

Traditionally, the narrative surrounding climate change has revolved around ecological destruction, often depicted through images of polar bears and vanishing lands. However, when contemplating my fears related to climate collapse and destruction, it’s not just the ecological aspects such as losing the polar bears that concern me. It’s the unique elements of the human experience that are also at stake—the ability to start a family, fall in love and pursue our dreams.

I write to honor people. So I placed a black woman at the heart of these questions—a black woman who experiences profound love yet faces an impossible decision. Through this play, I hope to remind people that love, which I know is the defining essence of the human experience, cannot be eradicated. Furthermore, I aspire to inspire audiences to integrate climate resilience into their daily lives. Sustainability is a choice that can be infused into every aspect of our existence.

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PHANÉSIA PHAREL is a playwright that grew up on a dragonfruit farm in Miami.