Compiled by Rush Rehm and Charles Junkerman, Voices of the Earth deals with the troubled relationship between humans and the natural world. Along with powerful wilderness images and soundscapes, this staged reading features environmental pioneers (Muir, Carson, Stegner), great nature writers (Thoreau, Snyder, Abbey), playwrights who turn to the environment for inspiration (Sophocles, Chekhov, O’Neill), native American voices (Crowfoot, Chief Luther Standing Bear, Walking Buffalo), poets who honor the earth (Li Po, Rumi, Neruda, Levertov, Oliver, Lorde), environmental activists (Mendes, Saro-wiwa, Maathai, Goodall, McKibben), climate change deniers who insist we face no crisis, and scientists who know better. Voices of the Earth brings home the threat that looms, even as it lifts the spirit and calls us to action.


Rush Rehm

Rush Rehm is a Professor of TAPS and Classics at Stanford. He is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Stanford Repertory Theater (SRT), where he has overseen the work of this professional company for the past 21 years. In October 2018, he directed SRT’s Four Sided Triangle, his adaptation of Ivan Turgenev’s A Month in the Country, for the Turgenev bicentennial festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. In February 2019, he directed SRT’s Democratically Speaking at Marines Memorial Theater in San Francisco. In July and August, 2019, Rush produced SRT’s 21st summer festival, The Environment and Social Justice, in collaboration with Planet Earth Arts. For the festival, he directed Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids, a new play by Vincent Terrell Durham, and Voices of the Earth: From Sophocles to Rachel Carson and Beyond, which he compiled with Charles Junkerman, Emeritus Dean of Continuing Studies.

Rehm’s books include Aeschylus’ Oresteia: A Theatre Version (Melbourne 1978); Greek Tragic Theatre (Routledge: London 1992, paper 1994, modern Greek translation 1999; a new edition entitled Understanding Greek Tragedy came out in 2016); Marriage to Death: The Conflation of Marriage and Funeral Rituals in Greek Tragedy (Princeton 1994, paper 1996); The Play of Space: Spatial Transformation in Greek Tragedy (Princeton 2002); and Radical Theatre: Greek Tragedy and the Modern World (Duckworth: London 2003). His Eurpides: Electra, the final volume in the Duckworth Companion to Greek and Roman Drama series, will appear in 2021. Recent contributions to edited volumes include Looking at Antigone (Bloomsbury), Aeschylus’ Tragedies: The Cultural Divide and the Trauma of Adaptation (Brill), The Brill Companion to Euripides, The Brill Companion to Sophocles, The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Theatre, The Oxford Handbook of Greek Drama in the Americas, Rebel Women (Methuen), Aeschylus’ Agamemnon in Performance (Oxford), Sophocles and the Greek Language (Brill), Antigone’s Answer (Helios Supplement), and Post-Colonial Classics (Oxford). As well as courses on ancient theater and culture, Rehm teaches courses on contemporary politics, the media, and U.S. imperialism. Rush received the Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding service to undergraduates in 2014.


Voices of the Earth premiered this past summer, part of Stanford Repertory Theater’s 21st summer festival: “The Environment and Social Justice.” We are grateful for the opportunity to join TAPS in producing this version of Voices of the Earth for another three performances, part of TAPS Second Season. We have hopes of taking the production to other venues in California and Europe in the future.

As most of you well know, we face a climate crisis, which poses an existential threat to the long-term survival of the human race. The effects of this crisis ⁠— drought, flooding, wildfires, melting ice-sheets and tundra, poisoned air and water, sea-level rise and disappearing glaciers, loss of habitat and manifold species extinctions ⁠— increases the already vast disparity between rich and poor human beings, between the privileged and the exploited, between the powerful and those who have little say in how their world is organized and lived. Far from an oxymoron, environmental devastation and social justice are part and parcel of the same challenge.

With the exception of nuclear war, where the immediate consequences bring our fears to the forefront, no threat looms more dauntingly than the exponential rise in global temperature. Most informed people understand this, but the question remains: what are we going to do about it? Clearly, we need a massive effort ⁠— grass roots struggle and leadership initiatives ⁠— to address the systemic causes of environmental destruction and the growing inequality in income, mobility, basic human rights, and prospects for a viable future. Voices of the Earth represents a very modest contribution to this effort.

My thanks go out to my friend and collaborator Charles Junkerman, now Dean (Emeritus) of Stanford Continuing Studies, who helped me compile Voices of the Earth: From Sophocles to Rachel Carson and Beyond. Without Charlie’s ongoing support, SRT would never have come into being, and would have faded away long ago. We are all in debt to his extraordinary contributions to the cultural and intellectual life at Stanford.

On behalf of Stanford Repertory Theater and the Department of Theater and Performance Studies, let me thank you for coming. We hope what we present to you now will inspire all of us to take action, wherever and however we can.


Tickets for this staged reading are $5. All tickets are general admission.


Fri Nov 1 + Sat Nov 2 at 8pm
Sun Nov 3 at 2pm*

*A talkback follows this performance


This production performs in Pigott Theater, located in the Memorial Auditorium complex. See directions and parking information.


Please note that for safety reasons, we cannot accommodate late seating for our performances. Please plan on arriving with ample time to find parking, locate the theater, etc.


All events in Pigott Theater are made possible through the Pigott Fund for Drama.
Stanford Repertory Theater would also like to thank the following groups and individuals for their support in mounting SRT’s 2019 Festival The Environment and Social Justice, which included the premiere of Voices of the Earth:
The Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity
The Clayman Institute
The Department of Classics
The Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages
The McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society
The O’Brien Family Charitable Fund
The Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
The School of Humanities and Sciences
Stanford Continuing Studies
The Stanford Humanities Center
William Eddelman