Catch “Good Timber” at the Tidemark Theatre from July 5-9.

Logging history comes alive on stage

Any way you look at it the people of B.C. have been greatly influenced by the logging industry. If you or your family has been impacted by logging, the Tidemark Theatre has just the show for you running from July 5-9, when it presents “Good Timber” by The Other Guys Theatre Company and the Royal BC Museum.

Perhaps you grew up in a logging camp, or perhaps your father did, or maybe he lived in town and worked as a logger.

Any way you look at it the people of B.C. have been greatly influenced by the logging industry. If you or your family has been impacted by logging, the Tidemark Theatre has just the show for you running from July 5-9, when it presents “Good Timber” by The Other Guys Theatre Company and the Royal BC Museum.

“Good Timber: Songs and Stories of the Western Logger” celebrates the golden age of logging in the Pacific Northwest – and the legendary bulls of the woods, hookers, hi-riggers, fallers, whistle punks, and locie engineers from a time when loggers climbed trees.

An original rollicking musical theatre revue, Good Timber is based on the logger poetry of Robert E. Swanson, aka the Bard of the Woods. Swanson’s poems document a time in the logging industry when it was undergoing many technological changes.

As chainsaws replaced handsaws and diesel-powered engines replaced steam. The amazingly talented ensemble of six has created a show of songs and stories played against a multi-media backdrop of rarely-seen archival imagery.

Now, some might cringe at the thought of a musical revue, but after you’ve seen this show you’ll not be able to imagine this collection of 22 songs presented in any other way.

The stories Swanson and the other poets and songwriters have woven can hold their own, each containing a glimpse into the lives of B.C. loggers in the early and mid-20th century.

You will hear tales of chokermen, punks, apes and cat skinners (don’t worry, there’s a logging-term glossary in the program) as well as hard-working locomotives, chewing tobacco, card-hustling women and frozen loggers.

Director Ross Desprez has assembled the songs in such a way that there’s a good flow and pace to the evening. Having multiple folks writing the music – credits to go ensemble members John Gogo, Colleen and Kelt Eccleston, Ross Desprez and Mark Hellman, as well as a few others – and the talented Tobin Stokes handling musical director duties means there’s a healthy dose of musical variation, from sombre ballads to upbeat tunes.

Good Timber originally opened at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria last summer where it ran for two months with such great success that it is returning there at the end of this year’s tour.

Performances at the Tidemark are Tuesday, July 5 to Saturday, July 9, at 8 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. on the Wednesday and Saturday.

Good Timber is approximately 90 minutes long and is suitable for children ages eight and up.

Tickets are $27 adults, $22 members, and $17 students, on sale now at the Tidemark. You can Charge-by-Phone at 250-287-7465.

toll free at 1-800-994-0555, or you may purchase them online at www.tidemarktheatre.com