Bitter environmental conflict inspires
demonstrations, op-ed pieces, sometimes violence. In the Mattole
Valley of Northern California, fights over logging and salmon have
generated something else entirely: musical comedy. Activist David
Simpson and his choreographer wife, Jane Lapiner, both San
Francisco Mime Troupe veterans, launched a theater group, Human
Nature, to try to ease tensions between environmentalists and
loggers. Their first full-scale production, "Queen Salmon," was a
gently satirical take on the conflict. Human Nature has now moved
beyond local questions. Its latest production, "Wolf at the Door,"
takes on wolf reintroduction. It tracks three sets of characters:
the Canadian wolves captured for the Yellowstone release, a man and
a wolf out of Norse myth, and a morally confused environmentalist
and his wife. The show has played mostly to audiences sympathetic
to its conservationist goals and doesn't really set out to change
minds. "We're pricking the bubble of human pretense," Simpson says,
and reminding environmentalists of the irony inherent in humans
trying to help nature.
"Wolf at the Door" visits
Bozeman, Mont., Oct. 29, Missoula, Mont., Oct. 30 and 31, Lewiston,
Idaho, Nov. 4, Boise, Idaho, Nov. 5, and Conifer, Colo., Nov. 8.
For information, contact David Simpson at P.O. Box 81, Petrolia, CA