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Good Timber honours loggers and the history of the woods

Three performances of musical revue of loggers and the way it was

Honouring and paying respect to the loggers who helped build this province is one of the aims of the musical revue, Good Timber. But, it’s also about good music and stories.

Audiences can expect a show that pays a lot of respect to loggers and the history of logging on the coast and islands,” said cast member John Gogo. Based on the logger poetry of Robert E. Swanson, ‘the Bard of the Woods,’ this amazingly talented ensemble has created a show of songs and stories played against a multi-media backdrop of rarely-seen archival imagery. The music was written through a collaborative effort including Gogo, artistic director Ross Desprez and musical director Tobin Stokes and others.

Gogo is a well-known musician in the music scene on the Island is having a fantastic time performing in the revue. The music goes over really well with old time loggers and their families, he said.

And he knows of what he sings.

“I used to log in Port Renfrew in the early 80s,” said Gogo. “I was a chockerman for a couple of years, and I am a fourth generation Vancouver Island logger.”

Good Timber first opened at the Royal BC Museum in the summer of 2010 and has been touring on the West Coast with stops in many of the communities where logging has been a part of the history and economy. By the end of 2013 Good Timber  will have toured to 16 BC communities, performing 154 shows for an audience of 27,000+.

“It’s a personal thing for me to be doing this,” said Gogo. “I enjoy chatting with the old loggers after the show and listening to the stories they have to tell. I honour these people for the hard work they did. Loggers got a bad name for awhile but they did hard, honest and dangerous work. The loggers I knew from Sooke and Port Renfrew are great guys and I honuour them for contributing to B.C.’s history.”

Good Timber, pays homage to the legendary Bulls, hookers, hi-riggers, fallers, whistle punks, locie engineers, and millworkers from a time when loggers climbed trees.

The Other Guys Theatre Company’s artistic director, Ross Desprez, was inspired by a dog-eared copy of Rhymes of the Western Logger, a compilation of logging camp poetry by Robert E. Swanson. If you’d stumbled into a skid road smoke shop or camp commissary during the 1940s or ‘50s you would have seen well-thumbed copies of Swanson’s chapbooks sticking up among the Reader’s Digests.  Swanson achieved legendary status among the BC coast loggers, doing for them what Robert Service did for the gold miners of the Klondike.  Poems like The Cat Skinner’s Prayer, The Death of Rough House Pete, and BC Hiball lament the hazards of work in the woods.

Good Timber comes to Sooke for three shows only, June 14 and 15,  at the Sooke Community Theatre, Edward Milne community school, 6218 Sooke Rd.

 

“I liked the idea of showing history in different ways and I like the idea of theatre and music,” said Lee Boyko, Executive Director of the Sooke Region Museum.

 

Created and presented by Victoria-based the Other Guys theatre company, the singers, musicians and actors perform against an outstanding multi-media backdrop of rarely-seen images from the BC Archives.

The Other Guys Theatre Company is committed to developing theatrical presentations reflecting the history and culture of our community while supporting the livelihoods of local professional and emerging artists.

For more information about Good Timber or the Other Guys Theatre Company, visit www.otherguystheatre.ca

 

Tickets for Good Timber are $22 ($20 for students/seniors) and are available in Sooke at Shoppers Drug Mart, Peoples Drug Mart or the Sooke Region Museum. Museum members receive a $2 discount when purchased at the museum. To purchase tickets by phone call Ticket Rocket at 250-590-6291 or online at www.ticketrocket.org.

 

The show has received critical acclaim:

 

“The show is a delight… some of the best musical talent in Victoria… a really great show!”

 

CBC Radio

 

“Good Timber logs BC history in song…marriage of music, poetry brilliantly performed.”

 

Times Colonist, Victoria.

 

“The love loggers had and have for the forests comes through loud and clear in Good Timber. In these ecologically dangerous and divisive times, that’s good to remember.”

 

Georgia Straight, Vancouver.

 

“A musical revue, and an expertly executed, top-notch one at that. 
A damned fine piece of theatre.”

 

Monday Magazine, Victoria.

 

Good Timber is generously sponsored by:  Butler Bros. Supplies, Western Island Tree Service, 4M Bobcat & Trucking Ltd., Sooke Power Supplies Ltd., Wenstob Timber Resource Ltd., Old Style Repair Ltd., Sooke Backhoe Services Ltd., Little Vienna Bakery.

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