My play Moonscape to Treescape is going to be part of the Walnut Street Theatre’s Touring Outreach Company’s 2009-2010 Season. Walnut Street Theatre is the oldest theatre in America, celebrating 200 years in 2009.
They liked the name A Forest Fable better, so I let them change it for this production.
I first wrote the play back in 19-ninety-something for Lindsay and I to tour and perform when Theatrefolk was a fledgling production company. The cast size at that time was two (man, were we busy!). Now the cast is a bit bigger, but the story is pretty much the same.
It’s based on the devastating effect the nickel industry had on the landscape around Sudbury, Ontario. The land surrounding the city was completely devoid of foliage as a result of pollution and acid rain from the nickel plants. It was so bad that NASA actually used the area to test lunar vehicles because the landscape was so similar. I remember seeing the miles and miles of rocks when I was a child.
Eventually the plants figured out how to work a little more cleanly, and some very smart people figured out how to grow trees on bare rock, and now the landscape around Sudbury is much much better. The play was inspired by a newspaper article I read about a group of schoolchildren who were helping to plant trees around the city. The story of the play centers around a community caught in a tug of war where the singlemost driver of their economy is the very thing that is devastating their environment.