The National Science Foundation has spent almost $700,000 on “The Great Immensity,” a “play and environmental project” about climate change set to premiere in New York City April 11.

According to the play’s website, the play is “a continent-hopping thriller following a woman, Phyllis, as she pursues someone close to her who disappeared from a tropical island while on an assignment for a nature show. Through her search, Phyllis uncovers a mysterious plot surrounding the upcoming international climate summit in Auckland.”

“The Great Immensity” is further described as “a highly theatrical look into one of the most vital questions of our time: how can we change ourselves and our society in time to solve the enormous environmental challenges that confront us?”

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) drew attention to the play and its price tag last week in a hearing with White House science czar John Holdren. According to Fox News, the play was only one of several NSF projects that Smith called into question, including:

  • $15,000 to study the fishing practices in and around Lake Victoria in Africa
  • $340,000 on the examination of the “ecological consequences” of early human fires in New Zealand
  • $200,000 towards a three-year study of the Bronze Age
  • $50,000 towards the survey of archived lawsuits from 17th century Peru
  • $20,000 for a study on the causes of stress in Bolivia