Well, this announcement is a day late and a dollar short, but I still think its worth sharing. Yesterday, Ann Arbor’s Wild Swan Theater (a nationally renowned ‘family’ theater troupe) finished a run of Shipwrecked!, a play for elementary and middle school students and their families.
“Shipwrecked!” is a sailing story, set in 1893, that follows the travails of 12-year-old Aaron Buchanan when his family’s schooner is caught in a fierce storm while he is at the helm. Young as he is, Aaron has sailed with his parents for years, ferrying cargo from their home port of Detroit to ports through the Great Lakes. As the family is returning from Sault St. Marie on Lake Huron in November with a huge load of Christmas trees, they are caught in a ferocious gale that sweeps through Thunder Bay, infamously known as Shipwreck Alley. With assistance from the lighthouse keepers on Thunder Bay Island, a crew of surfmen from the lifesaving station brave 40 knot winds and sixteen foot waves to effect a daring rescue.
High seas drama… and educational too! Playwright Jeff Duncan and director Hillary Cohen collaborated with numerous cultural institutions, from the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary to the Michigan Historical Museum, to make this as authentic as it gets. [for more read this] They also put together a fantastic study guide which includes an excerpt from the play as well as pages of historical documents.
Shipwrecks are fascinating no matter how old you are or where you live. The folks up in Michigan know this better than most and they produce some of the best shipwreck education material out there. Shipwrecked! is another prime example. Fortunately, Wild Swan is taking Shipwrecked! on the road–it’ll be making stops in Detroit, Lansing and Alpena in the months to come. Check it out! [for dates &c. go here]