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Gabriel Graetz, Dorothy Recasner Brown, Derrick Ivey, Tia Pulikal. Photo by James Bowman.


by Jim Grimsley
directed by Joseph Megel


presented by

StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance

Cascade takes us to the not-so-distant future where the climate crisis before us now, is then in the rearview mirror, society is breaking down, resources are scarce, and people are on the move. Only Grimsley could find both terror and tenderness in this strange new world.

Performance Schedule

Swain Hall Black Box Theatre April 7-23

101 E. Cameron Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Thursday, April 7 Pay-What-You-Can-Preview 7:30pm

Friday, April 8 Opening Night 7:30pm (Reception Follows)

Saturday, April 9, 7:30pm 

Thursday, April 14, 7:30pm

Friday, April 15, 7:30pm

Saturday, April 16, 7:30pm

Sunday, April 17, 2:00pm

Thursday, April 21, 7:30pm

Friday, April 22, 7:30pm

Saturday, April 23, 7:30pm

Performances at The Plant in Pittsboro April 28-May 1

Lorax Lane, Pittsboro, NC 27312

Thursday, April 28, 7:30pm

Friday, April 29, 7:30pm

Saturday, April 30, 7:30pm

Sunday, May 1, 2:00 p.m.

Panel Discussions and Talkbacks TBA

For the Pay-What-You-Can Preview click here to reserve a seat for $5 or take your chances at the door!













Costumes ERIN WEST


Videography ALEX MANESS

Co-Producers Elisabeth Lewis Corley and David Berberian

*actor is a member of Actors' Equity Association

Cascade was developed in association with and is presented in association with The Process Series: New Works in Development.


Gabriel Graetz and Tia Pulikal. Photo by James Bowman.

Post-Show Discussions

At Swain Hall Black Box Theatre in Chapel Hill


Thursday, April 14, Dr. Douglas MacClean, and Dr. Laura Moore

Laura Moore is a scientist with a focus on the environment and especially coastal areas. Doug MacLean is a philosopher who thinks about the ethics of climate change and individual action.

Thursday, April 21st Jonah Garson (Candidate for NC House District 56)


A native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Jonah Garson graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009, and from Columbia Law School in 2014, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. While in law school, he served as the founding student director of the Columbia Law School Writing Center and worked at the Office of the New York State Attorney General. He has practiced law at the international law firm of Milbank LLP in New York and with the Triangle-based Parry Law. He is currently running to represent his hometown in the North Carolina House of Representatives, District 56. His platform on the environment includes the statement: “The latest report from the UN’s panel on climate change reinforces what we already knew: we don’t have time to wait. North Carolina needs to take bold climate action, now.”

For more information about climate change, and actions we can take or press for, now, please see:


The UN Climate Reports


The article that gave rise to David Wallace-Wells’s book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming was first published in New York Magazine.


For more conversation on what we can do—and how we cope—please join us for our post-show discussions.


Candidate Jonah Garson for NC House of Representatives District 56.

At The Plant in Pittsboro


Thursday, April 28th – Artist Panel 

How the Work Gets Made and What it Means – Asking Questions of the Audience


Jim Grimsley, Joseph Megel, the acting company, the designers


Friday, April 29thLocal Government Panel


Karen Howard, John Bonitz, Sami Grover


Elected as Chatham County Commissioner in 2014, Karen Howard is a former attorney, born in New York, who spent much of her childhood in the Bahamas. Commissioner Howard served as a member of the Chatham County Board of Education from 2012-2014 and as Chair of the Board from 2013-2014. She has served on the Executive Committee of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners since 2017 and currently serves as Co-Chair of the task force on Pathways for Disconnected Youth. She obtained a BA in English from Georgetown University and an LLB in Law from the University of Buckingham in England. She was called to the Bar of England and Wales and The Bahamas Bar in 1992. In addition to her government service and service in education she is a long-standing member of the Board of Directors of the Chatham Arts Council.


John Bonitz is Commissioner for the Town of Pittsboro and has thirty years of experience in non-regulatory environmental policy, advocacy, clean energy tech deployment, community organizing, and social entrepreneurship. Specialties: Clean Transportation, sustainable bioenergy, renewable energy, climate change policy, natural resource conservation, sustainable agriculture, organics management, recycling, and community organizing.


Sami Grover, author of We're All Climate Hypocrites Now, is an environmental writer and branding specialist. He's written about everything from composting to e-bikes to international climate politics. Active in the sphere of good-for-the-world business, he has developed branding projects for clients including Burt's Bees, Dogwood Alliance, and Jada Pinkett Smith. Sami currently serves as brand development manager for The Redwoods Group, and lives in Durham, NC. He has three compost bins, and also still occasionally eats steak.


Chatham County Commissioner Karen Howard.


Town of Pittsboro Commissioner John Bonitz.

Saturday, April 30th – Entrepreneurs for Change


Stephanie Terry, Tami Schwerin


Stephanie Basima Terry is Executive Director and Co-Founder of WEBB Squared, an incubator and accelerator created to address and close the racial wealth gap by providing a supportive ecosystem around Black entrepreneurs. She is an entrepreneur, equity consultant, corporate trainer, community organizer, and the founder of Sweetie’s Southern Vegan Food Company.

Tami Schwerin is a chatham county entrepreneur who helped open a co-op grocery store, the Chatham Marketplace; founded a non-profit, Abundance NC; and is currently creating and developing The Plant, an Eco-Industrial Park community in Pittsboro, NC, hosting food and beverage businesses along with other retail, an art

gallery, and event spaces. She is passionate about local economy, experiences, talking about taboo subjects, and understanding death and grief.

Sunday, May 1st  – Closing 


Susan A. Crate, Andrew Taylor-TroutmanElisabeth Lewis Corley 

Susan A. Crate is an environmental and cognitive anthropologist, who since 2005 has analyzed perceptions, understandings, and responses to climate change among Sakha, arctic Canadian, Peruvian, Welsh, I-Kiribati, Mongolian, and Chesapeake watermen communities. She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, three edited volumes on anthropology and climate change, and two monographs, most recently, Once Upon the Permafrost: Knowing Culture and Climate Change in Siberia (The University of Arizona Press, 2021). She is the lead in the critically acclaimed documentary, "The Anthropologist," which shows how anthropologists work in communities on the front lines of climate change. She was lead author on the IPCC Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere and American Anthropology Association’s Task Force on Climate Change. She is currently a Fulbright Arctic Initiative fellow and a professor of anthropology at George Mason University.

The Reverend Andrew S. Taylor-Troutman, Pastor and head of staff at Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church, is a graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary where he earned a Master of Divinity degree in 2009. He received a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Virginia in 2011. He is currently a candidate for a Doctor of Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Andrew has written poetry and prose for many publications as well as authored five books. His most recent, Hope Matters: Churchless Sermons in Time of the Coronavirus, is a collection of his weekly columns for the Chatham News + Record. Andrew lives in Chatham County with his wife, also an ordained Presbyterian minister, their three young children, and their new puppy, Ramona, who is named after Andrew’s favorite literary heroine.

Elisabeth Lewis Corley was founding artistic director of the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, now operating as The Shakespeare Tavern. NYC: actor and producer for Signature Theatre Company in its first four seasons and in plays by Jim Grimsley for Harland’s Creek Productions. Producer for StreetSigns in NC and NYC since 2012. Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway appearances: Signature Theatre Company, 47th Street Theatre, Harland’s Creek Productions, Triangle Theatre. Regional appearances: StreetSigns, Manbites Dog, Bulldog Ensemble Theater, Triad Stage, Justice Theater Project. Film and TV: Candy for Hulu, One Tree Hill, One Life to Live, Ten Hundred Kings. MFA in poetry Warren Wilson Program for Writers and B.A. with Highest-Honors-in-Poetry from UNC Chapel Hill where she has taught screenwriting and poetry performance. Corley’s poems have appeared in Southern Poetry Review, Hyperion, Carolina Quarterly, Feminist Studies, BigCityLit,MahMag, The New Haven Review, Cold Mountain, Consequence Magazine: An International Literary Magazine Focusing on the Culture of War, and Michigan Quarterly Review. She was a 2018 North Carolina Arts Council Fellow in Poetry. Dramatists Guild, Actors’ Equity Association, SAG/AFTRA.

Other panelists TBA and all panelists subject to availability.


WEBB Squared Executive Director and Co-Founder Stephanie Basima Terry.


NC Abundance and The Plant instigator Tami Schwerin.


Susan A. Crate with Alexander Federov. Photo by Kathryn Tuyaara Yegorov-Crate.


The Reverend Andrew Taylor-Troutman, Pastor of Chapel in the Pines and author


Poet and producer Elisabeth Lewis Corley. Photo by Simon Wolf.

Jim Grimsley

Joseph Megel, artistic director of both The Process Series and StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance, and the director of this production is looking forward to sharing with audiences this crucial new play. “Any time we have an opportunity to work on a play by Jim Grimsley, we leap at the chance. Cascade is especially exciting because StreetSigns has been looking for a work that addresses our current climate crisis in a way that could galvanize audiences. This is that play.”


In February 2020, Jim Grimsley and three other playwrights were asked to answer a forty-eight-hour challenge to write a full-length play responding to “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming,” by David Wallace-Wells. Grimsley’s response, Cascade, is a brilliant work, written in a fever, responding to our feverish world, caught up in a climate emergency, drowning in over-heated rhetoric and starving for a coherent, coordinated response. “When I was approached about writing a play in response to this crisis, I wasn’t sure I had anything to add. I wasn’t sure there was a story that would come to me. I was somewhat surprised and more than a little pleased that this one did.”


Jim Grimsley was born in rural eastern North Carolina and was educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying writing with Doris Betts and Max Steele. He has published short stories and essays in various quarterlies, including DoubleTakeNew Orleans Review, Carolina Quarterly, the New Virginia Review, the LA Times, and the New York Times Book Review. Jim’s first novel Winter Birds, was published in the United States by Algonquin Books in the fall of 1994. Winter Birds won the Sue Kaufman Prize for best first novel from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. He has published other novels, including Dream BoyKirith Kirin, and My Drowning. His books are available in Hebrew, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, and Portuguese. He has also published a collection of plays and most recently a memoir, How I Shed My Skin. His body of work as a prose writer and playwright was awarded the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2005. For twenty years he taught writing at Emory University in Atlanta.

Check out Jim Grimsley interviewed by Byron Woods in the INDY!

“When I was approached about writing a play in response to this crisis, I wasn’t sure I had anything to add. I wasn’t sure there was a story that would come to me. I was somewhat surprised and more than a little pleased that this one did.”
-- Jim Grimsley
“Any time we have an opportunity to work on a play by Jim Grimsley, we leap at the chance. Cascade is especially exciting because StreetSigns has been looking for a work that addresses our current climate crisis in a way that could galvanize audiences. This is that play.”
-- Joseph Megel

For more insight into the mind of Jim Grimsley, don't miss his fascinating website where he blogs about everything he is reading, with utter candor and a sophisticated understanding of literature, language, and all the things that interest him. It is difficult to imagine anything of importance that does not interest him. He knows and loves books and he generously shares his broad and sympathetic journey through them.

The Venues

For the Swain Hall Black Box Theatre parking is often available in the Swain Hall Parking lot right next to the theatre after 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and on the weekends. For the times when it is reserved, it is always good to have a back up plan. 

When the Swain lot is not available, most other campus parking areas are available for parking without a permit. Check this link for .pdf maps to parking:


And this link for a more interactive map and more information about the rules for weeknight parking:


There are also many places to park, within easy walking distance for those who are able, in downtown Chapel Hill.

The theatre is wheelchair accessible.

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Parking is free at The Plant (also known as The Beverage District). There are two main parking lots and a couple of handicapped parking spots just outside the theatre. 

Check out the interactive map here:

Parking Lot 1 offers parking spaces when you first drive in, from which those who are able can walk a short block to the building at the end where the performance will take place. There is also another parking lot, Parking Lot 2, to the left as you drive farther in. There are designated handicapped parking spaces in Parking Lot 2 and also just outside the theatre building itself.

The theatre is wheelchair accessible.

When you turn off of Highway 64 onto Industrial Park Drive you will be driving about .6 of a mile before you see Lorax Lane. Fear not! There are great local spots for food and drink just ahead, and at the end of a little main street, the repurposed bio diesel factory building where the performance will take place.

Public restrooms are in the bright blue "Bath House" opposite the entrance to the theatre. 

More information about the food and beverage businesses that make up The Plant here:

If you have questions or concerns, please be in touch with us at and we will do our best to get back to you promptly.

Cascade Venues

The Cast


Dovie Thomason. Photo from Menlo Park Library


Derrick Ivey


Gabriel Graetz

DB Headshot_2015_edited.png

Dorothy Recasner Brown


Tia Pulikal


Actors' Equity Association is the Union of Professional Actors and State Managers in the United States. Member here appearing under a Special Appearance Contract.

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This project was supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts; and with support from the Chatham Arts Council, Manbites Dog Theater Fund, The Paul Green Foundation, and the UNC Department of Communication.

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