Yesterday evening I saw the UO Theatre’s Salmon is Everything, a play about the 2002 Klamath River salmon kill that left 70,000 fish dead and two cultures in jeopardy. The characters include a group of Klamath tribe members, an annoying news reporter, a dreadlocked, lesbian environmentalist and a farmer who must balance his irrigation needs with his sense of morality.
The set is a gorgeous, multileveled wooden confection by MFA scene design student Dan Carlgren. It’s as beautiful as it is utilitarian. At times, it successfully partitions two very different households, one native and one caucasian. With the help of shimmering lights, it becomes a river in the forest. Suddenly it’s the inside and outside of a meeting hall simultaneously.
1/4 inch model, Dan Carlgren
The play itself leaves something to be desired. The plot centers around monologues and heated conversations that reduce most of the characters to preachy caricatures. But the idea is compelling and the message is an important one.
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