This Island Earth, produced by Lower Columbia College in 1998 (as The Time Traveler’s Story Guide to Planet Earth) and in a 2009 revision, is an adaptation of folktales and myths, along with some original material, on a common theme of stewardship of our planet. Don Correll invited me to collaborate on it, making it my first experience with playwriting. The best way to learn is to just dive in. This made me hungry to write a play of my very own, which ultimately led to my writing The Harder Courage.
The power of this physical theater production was not in the writing, but in the imagination. Costumes were simple. There were no props or furniture, although there was marvelous lighting by Correll. The actors formed their bodies into trees, animals, the ocean, weather, and natural phenomena. In the photo at the top of the page, they depict a dragon.
They’re an erupting volcano in the red-lit photo shot during this excerpted scene, which is one of mine. Stage directions are Correll’s from the original production.
SCENE Three: Mother Earth 1
(Group of actors enter, take places. CHILD enters, begins to play nearby.)
(MOTHER EARTH enters, gestures toward group. Actors become seeds growing, rain falling, flowers blooming. CHILD watches in wonder.)
CHILD: what are you doing?
MOTHER EARTH: Creating life.
MOTHER EARTH: Because, my child, I am your friend.
CHILD: Who are you?
(Group becomes three groups within a line, each doing one of the images. CHILD sits in wonder.)
MOTHER EARTH: Sun (actors become the sun), sky (actors become the sky), stars (actors’ fingers become twinkling stars.)
Thunder (actors rumble fists on floor), wind (actors blow about), storms (actors become a storm).
Mountains (actors become a mountain), volcanoes (mountain is now a volcano, erupts), trees (actors become trees), snow (actors’ fluttering fingers become falling snow)
I have been here since the dawn of time. I am Mother Earth. Come to me, child. (They embrace)
END OF SCENE