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7:00 pm

John Muir: Watch, Pray, and Fight

April 15, 2017
Gesa Power House Theatre, 111 North 6th Avenue
Walla Walla, WA 99362 United States
$15 - $18
Mark Raddatz as John Muir

Gesa Power House Theatre presents "John Muir: Watch, Pray, Fight" a play written and performed by Mark Raddatz on Saturday, April 15 at 7:00 p.m.

In order to capture the essence of the legendary mountaineer, naturalist, and founder of the Sierra Club, Mark Raddatz composed the script entirely from Muir’s own words. This is not a biographical essay or paraphrase of an animal story. This is Muir as he would have appeared and spoken to an audience in his own time.

“I went to the University of the Pacific’s library for the bulk of my research,” Raddatz says. “They have all the Muir’s journals and other papers. Despite his having spoken before innumerable gatherings in the last 30 years of his life, I was assured that there were no actual printed speeches.”

After strenuous research in the newspaper of the period and Muir’s own papers, Raddatz found three. Traveling to Stockton, California, where the University of the Pacific’s Holt-Atherton Collections are housed, involved crossing and re-crossing the Sierra Nevada Mountains that Muir did so much to preserve. Raddatz took advantage of this to explore and camp where Muir did a century before.

“I spent every summer of my boyhood in the Sierras and Yosemite," says Raddatz. "It was good to renew the contact and a great place to read Muir.”

Of this project, Raddatz says, “During my lifetime, I’ve noticed popular culture has tended to tame John Muir, to rub the rough spots smooth and portray him as a warm and fuzzy eccentric; someone to take to our hearts, but not take too seriously. This was no Disney character chatting with the birds and squirrels; what Muir had to say back then is startlingly meaningful even now.”

Without explanation or exposition, Raddatz launches into the sort of talk Muir might have made during the fight for Yosemite and the national park idea. For just over an hour, the audience is treated to the poetry, wit, insight and passion that made John Muir the most effective voice for preservation in his own time and a remarkably pertinent voice in ours. His portrayal is thoughtful, thorough and humorous – and makes a very entertaining evening.

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