A man widely acknowledged as a patron saint of ‘Green’ thinking is the subject of a new drama at The Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond on Saturday 12 June at 7.30pm.
Rhapsody in Green is based on the life and writings of John Muir – the Scottish-American naturalist, environmental philosopher, and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States.
In a stunning one-man show - set somewhere in the Alaskan interior - actor Mike Maran plays the Rev Samuel Hall Young who remembers the life of his friend shortly after the great man’s death in 1914. Using a wigwam, sledge and a team of huskies, he certainly has a great story to tell!
Born in Dunbar, John Muir emigrated with his family to Wisconsin in the middle of the nineteenth century. He fell in love with the wilderness and explored and wrote about the Californian Sierra Nevada and the Alaskan glaciers. His activism helped to preserve many areas of outstanding natural beauty and he is the founder of The Sierra Club, a prominent American conservation organisation.
In his later life, Muir devoted most of his time to the preservation of the Western forests and he petitioned the US Congress for the National Park Bill that was passed in 1890, establishing Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. As a result, he is often referred to today as the ‘Father of National Parks’.
It is, however, the spiritual quality and enthusiasm towards nature expressed in his writing that greatly inspired readers, including presidents and congressmen, to take action and preserve the natural environment. And it is this powerful storytelling that forms the basis of Rhapsody in Green.
His account of rescuing Stickeen (a terrier of very mixed ancestory) from a splinter of ice over the abyss of a glacial crevasse in Alaska is probably one of the greatest dog stories ever told and his description of discovering Yosemite and looking down the falls into the valley a mile below is truly vertiginous.
Mike Maran (Past productions include: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Little World of Don Camillo and A Funny Valentine) brings all this to life in a contemplation of the practical and spiritual consequences of the destruction of our world.
“Anyone interested in preserving our planet – the things we could lose if we forget the warnings by people like pioneering conservationist John Muir – must see this mesmerising, heart-stopping one-man show.” Mike Levy localsecrets.com