Felling Giants

A new play documents the giant-redwood controversy.

"Tree-hugger" has become an almost warmly pejorative term, conjuring images of feckless hippies and stoned CoPIRG canvassers on the 16th Street Mall. As such, it's easy to forget the life-and-death struggle at the core of anti-logging movements, especially the one centered around the redwood forests of northern California. The area has historically been a hot spot where environmentalists, corporate loggers and local residents clash in a battle of bottom lines and ideology.

The Dell'Arte Theater Company — based in Blue Lake, California, right on the doorstep of Redwood National Park — considered the struggle and produced Shadow of Giants, which chronicles the actions of a woman named Chance, a literal tree-hugger who climbs a marked-for-death redwood and sets up camp in its canopy. Through highly stylized choreography that involves aerial dance and acrobatics, Matthew Graham Smith and his troupe take the epic interplay of greed, ego and dogmatism and bring it crashing dramatically down to earth. "This conflict is not being dealt with on a human level; so much of it is politics," Smith notes. "We're forgetting that we're all humans who have to live with ourselves and what goes on in our community."

Shadow of Giants opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Dairy Center for the Arts, 2590 Walnut Street in Boulder. The show also plays tomorrow night at the same time. Seats are $18, $15 for students, seniors and groups of ten or more. For tickets, call 303-444-7328; for information, call 303-440-7826 or visit www.dellarte.com.
March 31-April 1, 7:30 p.m.

 
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