Upcoming musical about Wilson Duff (!)

John Mann of Spirit of the West in "Beyond Eden"

I can hardly believe this, but the Vancouver Playhouse is mounting a new musical based on an event familiar to to all students of archaeology and anthropology n BC.  The musical stars John Mann from the band Spirit of the West.  From Tom Hawthorn’s blog:

Written by Bruce Ruddell with musical direction by Bill Henderson, formerly of Chilliwack, the musical premieres on Jan. 16 at the Vancouver Playhouse. The musical is based on a 1957 expedition to the Queen Charlotte Islands by the archeologist Wilson Duff and his Haida friend, the artist Bill Reid.

Mr. Mann portrays a character based on the archaeologist, a man who travelled to Haida Gwaii to preserve totem poles, which he bought for $50 each. These can now be seen at the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria and the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver.

“Off the top he believes his job is to keep those poles alive because you can learn from them,” Mr. Mann said. “If they rot, they’re lost, they’re gone forever. No one will be able to study them.

“In the course of those three days, his mind is changed. Then all hell breaks loose.”

This is remarkable and interesting on a number of levels.   I’d love to see it.

Wilson Duff was one of the first modern Anthropologists and Archaeologists to work in British Columbia and it seems he had just got started when he died by his own hand in 1976, at the age of 51.

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