Salmon Is Everything
New lyric play brings local, ecological awareness
By Andy Valentine
Friday will see the University of Oregon’s Robinson Theater hold its opening night of the community driven production “Salmon is Everything.” The play, set in Klamath Falls, Oregon depicts a struggle by the region’s native peoples with local farmers and their advocacy of dams and irrigation.
Writer Theresa May, in collaboration with members of the Hupa, Karuk and Yurok communities, put the production together with hopes that it would bring awareness in a time of great need for those affected by the devastating outcome of low water levels in the Oregon river system. Much of the commentary that takes place on stage is aimed at proprietors and advocates of dams and irrigation systems that continue to drastically lower salmon populations in the Northwest, all while spinning a poignant yarn that weaves the importance of salmon preservation into a message that holds true in every walk of life.
Only just under a decade ago, the Klamath River was home to a gigantic and disastrous decrease in the Chinook salmon population. It was reported that something to the tune of 70,000 fish were killed as they made their way upstream to spawn. While “Salmon is Everything” hopes to make knowledge of this occurrence widespread, it also hopes to enlighten the public with an exploration of the complicated monetary and societal issues that surround the local watershed.
Each performance will be followed by a community question-and-answer discussion with local ecosystem experts, the director and the play’s cast, so any queries regarding statistics, similar issues or ways to get involved are sure to be answered if theater goers choose to stick around.
This production is certainly an important commentary on the state of Northwest wildlife as well as the spiritual, social and economic impact that goes hand in hand with such crises as the destruction of local fish habitats. As they say: “don’t get caught upstream without a ticket.”
“Salmon is Everything” opens at 8pm on Friday, May 20th at the Robinson Theater on University of Oregon campus. The play runs through June 4th and tickets are available with more information about show times online at http://tickets.uoregon.edu/ or by phone at 542-346-4363.