Play followed by discussion
MARLBORO- Marlboro College presents a reading of the play “Salmon is Everything,” directed by theater professor Jean O’Hara and followed by a community discussion led by writer Shaunna Oteka McCovey, a member of the Yurok Nation, Friday, May 11, from 7 pm at the Whittemore Theater. The dramatic reading and discussion is presented in collaboration with the Vermont Performance Lab as part of their weeks-long Confluence Project.
“Salmon is Everything” was created in 2006 by the Klamath Theatre Project in response to the unprecedented premature death of more than 30,000 salmon along the Klamath River in 2002. The project was a collaborative community-university endeavor led by theater artist Theresa May, then a faculty members at Humboldt State University in California. The final version was written in collaboration with several playwrights, including O’Hara, and published in 2014.
The Klamath fish kill had an unprecedented impact throughout the watershed. For many tribal communities the lack of salmon, so central to their lives, signified a deep loss to their traditional food and spiritual practices. But in the political and ecological upheaval that followed, the role of salmon in tribal life went largely unacknowledged, which inspired some to explore the environmental and social impacts through art.
Based on interviews with members of the Yurok, Hoopa Valley, and Karuk tribes, biologists, ranchers, and farmers, “Salmon is Everything” tackles the complexity of how to share and take care of a river that is divided by geopolitical lines, dams, and a painful history. Since the first production of the play, many coalitions have been formed among the Klamath River communities, and together they have committed to the removal of all six dams by 2020.
McCovey, who will lead the community discussion after the reading, is a poet, writer, and attorney with 12 years of experience in tribal sovereignty and marine resource planning. In addition to contributing to the original collaboration that resulted in “Salmon is Everything,” she has published many poems, essays, and articles in journals and anthologies, as well as a book of poems, “The Smokehouse Boys.”
For information on the Confluence Project visit www.vermontperformancelab.org/confluence For more information contact Philip Johansson at (802) 258-9219.