Linfield professor, student collaborate to write dory play

A unique two-year project by Linfield College students and faculty chronicling the Pacific City dory community will culminate in a world premiere theatre production.

The premiere for “Kickin’ Sand and Tellin’ Lies,” written by Professor Jackson Miller and senior theatre major Chris Forrer, is a fictional tale inspired by stories from the project “Launching through the Surf: The Dory Fleet of Pacific City.” In the project, Linfield students and faculty are preserving the stories, voices and images of dory fishermen for an online collection in DigitalCommons@Linfield. Results will also be showcased in a photography exhibit, traveling poster and scholarly papers. The project will be featured in a segment on the Oregon Field Guide television program, produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting.

The play will be performed Nov. 1-3 and 8-10 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. in the Marshall Theatre in Ford Hall at Linfield. An additional showing will be presented Saturday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. at the Kiawanda Community Center in Pacific City, sponsored by the Pacific City Arts Association and Pacific City Dorymen’s Association. The play is supported in part by an Arts Build Communities grant from the Oregon Arts Commission.

Directed by Janet Gupton, professor of theatre arts, “Kickin’ Sand and Tellin’ Lies” is the story of a young fisherman as he learns respect for the ocean, the dory fleet and fellow anglers. The play opens with the Blessing of the Fleet, an annual Pacific City event to kick off the fishing season, and it references local landmarks such as Haystack Rock and the former Sunset West Restaurant and Bar. The production touches on environmental regulations, fishery management practices, gender issues, and tensions between loggers and fishermen.

The stories and experiences of the characters in the play came directly from more than 80 interviews conducted with dory fishermen and women, so the words ring true to how people in the community talk about their experiences and how they relate to one another. Miller and Forrer kept a log of interesting terms and phrases with dramatic quality, and incorporated these into the script.

“We had so much great material from all the interviews,” said Forrer. “We got a sense of the community, speaking patterns, jargon, boat terms and how people communicate with each other.”

Miller said the process of gathering the material gave them a vivid and intimate picture of life in Pacific City and in the dory community.

“People have shared such wonderful stories with us,” he said. “As a playwright, it’s been a wonderful opportunity. The stories themselves have great drama.”

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, Oct. 23. Tickets are $9 for full price; $7 for seniors (62+) and Linfield faculty and staff; and $5 for students; with a $2 discount on all tickets on opening night. Seating is reserved. Tickets are available at, by phone, or at the Marshall Theatre Box Office. Located in the lobby of Ford Hall, the box office is open Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m., and until 7:30 p.m. on performance days. The box office will also be open Nov. 3 and 10 from 3 to 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 4 from noon to 2 p.m. The box office is closed Mondays. The Marshall Theatre is fully accessible. For more information, call 503-883-2292.