Home Blog Industry News: Waiting for a Chinook (A New Play about Old Newspapers)
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Waiting for a Chinook (A New Play about Old Newspapers) Chamber Performance Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for the public and $5 for students, senior citizens, and children over 5. The performance is free for museum members. Tickets for museum members must be picked up prior to close of business on Friday, August 22.   A Chamber Performance of Waiting for a Chinook (A New Play about Old Newspapers) will be read in the C.M. Russell Museum’s main gallery. The play is a fictional memoir written by Gregory Hinton and directed by Leigh Selting. It was first presented at the 2013 Snowy Range Summer Theatre Festival in Laramie, Wyo., last summer. The script follows Vince, a disillusioned city reporter, who returns to his boyhood western town to search for place and meaning in the writings of his late father, Cliff, a Wyoming country editor. “Sometimes, I can hear these old newspapers talking,” he is told by Ramona, the county archivist who becomes both a sparring partner and guide in his research. Affecting, earnest and compassionate, the play Waiting for a Chinook celebrates community journalism and country editors everywhere and the sacrifices made to bring us the stories of ourselves. Many major metropolitan newspapers have closed or gone completely online since the 2008 economic downturn. Surprisingly, weekly newspapers seem to be holding their own. “The daily reporter just might be the 21st century version of Willie Loman (from Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’),” Hinton says. “So many newspapers have stopped their presses, with thousands of newspaper jobs lost and never to return.” Selting says he was drawn to the project several years ago when working with Hinton on another production. “With an undergraduate background in journalism myself, I’ve really enjoyed the journey we’ve taken with this piece, watching it take shape, become more dynamic….” says, Selting. Hinton is an acclaimed writer, filmmaker, and independent curator who was born in Wolf Point, Mont., and grew up in Cody, Wyo., the son of G.C. “Kip” Hinton, prize winning photojournalist and editor of the Cody Enterprise (1956-1962), which was originally founded by William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Selting is a professor and chair of the University of Wyoming department of Theater and Dance and also serves as the artistic director of the Snowy Range Summer Theater Festival. Guest actors for the C.M. Russell Museum Chamber Performance include Martha Slater, Jake Staley, both Wyoming natives and UW theater and Dance alumni; and Tom Watson, associate professor at Montana State University in Bozeman. The playbill image of Chinook, courtesy of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West where Hinton was a resident fellow, is adapted directly from the famous 1903 version of Charles M. Russell’s “Waiting for a Chinook” (a warm winter wind), which depicts a starving steer standing in a blizzard with five wolves closing in. In Montana’s hard winter of 1886-1887, the chinooks never arrived, and thousands of cattle, fending for themselves on the open range, perished from starvation. Russell’s original annotated postcard-sized version of “Waiting for a Chinook” was drawn to explain to absentee cattle barons why they went bust. “It was irresistible not to compare the Russell watercolor—essentially a political cartoon—to the decline in print journalism,” said Hinton, who first used it in a lecture about his dad’s legacy on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Whitney Gallery of Western Art, in Cody, Wyo. “Waiting for A Chinook” is informed by “Wot a Week!,” Kip Hinton’s weekly Enterprise column, and “Community Journalism, A Way of Life,” the noted book about weekly newspapers by the late Bruce M. Kennedy of Greybull, Wyo., whose family has owned the Enterprise since 1971.
Saturday, August 23, 2014 – 7:00pm to 8:45pm

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