Nov. 1, Linfield’s Marshall Theatre premiered “Kickin’ Sand and Tellin’ Lies,” based on the extensive, two-year student and faculty research project, Launching through the Surf: The Dory Fleet of Pacific City.
The project is highly collaborative, combining the efforts of the Linfield College Department of Theatre and Communication Arts, the Jereld R. Nicholson Library, the Linfield Center for the Northwest, the Pacific City Arts Association and the Pacific City Dorymen’s Association, to document the historical dories and dorymen, and the role they play in the coastal village of Pacific City, Ore.
“Pacific City has been the home of the dory fleet flat-bottom boats for 100 years,” said Brenda DeVore Marshall, professor of communication and theatre arts, “yet there’s not really a documented history there.”
Marshall, the director of the Launching through the Surf: The Dory Fleet of Pacific City project, grew fascinated with the history of the dory fleet that was ingrained in the unique culture of Pacific City, an unincorporated village of about 1,000 people.
“I thought that’s what we should focus on, and if we collected oral histories, we could use them to create a play,” Marshall said.
“This show is her brainchild and she is so invested and passionate in it,” senior Madison Sanchez, who is playing a doryman’s wife in the show, said, “I can’t express how awesome it is to perform in a show that was thought up by one of my professors, and written by another one of my professors and a fellow student.”
Playwrights, senior Chris Forrer and Jackson Miller, professor of communication arts and director of forensics, wrote the fictional story, which chronicles the experiences of the Kid as a young fisherman, learning the ropes of being a doryman in Pacific City.
Miller and Forrer found inspiration from more than 80 interviews with dorymen and women and members of the Pacific City community, from ages nine to 91.
“The main challenge was in sorting through all of the wonderful interview material, news articles, photographs and other artifacts to find the bits and pieces that we wanted to use in the script,” Miller said, “The main reward was in getting to work with the beautiful emotions in all of the personal stories we collected during the interview process.”
“The process of collaborating on a script with playwrights is always exciting because of the creative problem solving of getting the words on the page to come alive onstage,” said Janet Gupton, associate professor of theatre arts, resident director, and director of “Kickin’ Sand and Tellin’ Lies.”
A little more than 80 percent of the dialogue derives from the actual interviews acquired throughout the project.
“We wanted to be true to the words, speech patterns and stories from our historians, while also making the narrative more dynamic and interesting in a larger scope of a theatrical production,” Forrer said.
“It’s like a patchwork quilt, trying to piece the history together,” said Tyrone Marshall, professor of theatre arts, director of theatre and resident designer.
“Over the two years of this project, I’ve been taking a lot of pictures to help document it from a contemporary aspect.”
Tyrone Marshall has collected nearly 15,000 images, many of which are being used in the multi-media set of “Kickin’ Sand and Tellin’ Lies,” along with vintage video of the fishing boats.
The collective nature of the project and production has allowed for a number of students and faculty, representing a number of different majors, to get involved.
“One of the things I loved about the overall project, is that it allowed both parts of the department to work together,” Brenda DeVore Marshall said. “The theatre program always involves students, but this has been a more formal involvement of students and faculty in both programs.”
Nine students and five professors made up the research team for the Launching through the Surf: The Dory Fleet of Pacific City project, and a total of 62 students are involved in the production of “Kickin’ Sand and Tellin’ Lies.
“We truly could not have created this wonderful production without the contributions of everyone along the way, and I am personally very thankful for having had the opportunity to work with such a talented and dedicated group of individuals,” Miller said.
In addition to the original script and multimedia production, the project has resulted in digital archives, scholarly papers, poster sessions and a photo exhibit. It will continue through the spring of 2013 with a traveling exhibit, as well as continual updating of the digital archive collection.
“Kickin’ Sand and Tellin’ Lies” runs Nov. 1-3 at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. and Nov. 8-10 at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a performance in Pacific City on November 17.
To learn more about the project and to access the digital archives, visit digitalcommons.linfield.edu/dory.