Eco Tales at Ford Theatre showcases student-written stories combining theatre and environmental awareness


Mariah Johnston

The cast takes a bow at Eco Tales.

Linfield University’s Theatre Department hosted Eco Tales: Student-Adapted Fairy Tales this past week in the Ford Theatre. This play takes a unique twist on fairy tales, by bringing awareness to the harmful impact of humans on the environment resulting in climate change and other natural disasters. 

Derek Lane, visiting assistant professor in the theatre department, opened up the play by explaining that this show has been in production for the past year, giving immense credit to all the students involved. 

The three scenes of the play include “Tammy and the Beanstalk,” “Character and Bears,” and lastly, “Pinocchio at the End of the World.”

“Tammy and the Beanstalk,” written by MJ Rinehart, took a unique twist on the original fairy tale, “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

Tammy’s little brother, Jack, has always yearned for creating something that was his own. All his past inventions had failed. It wasn’t until he accidentally grew a giant beanstalk that he felt successful. What seemed like a dream come true, ended up actually giving everyone in the town a zombie virus. 

Camille Lubach, who played Tammy spoke, about how much she loved being in this act.

“I have always loved the performing arts but hadn’t practiced it since junior year [of high school]. When I heard about the Eco Tales I was hooked. Theatre and environmental justice sounded too good to be true,” she said. “I enjoyed a hectic month of rehearsals and theater shenanigans… I am grateful for the experience.” 

The play came to a happy end when the beanstalk was burned down and the town returned to normal.

The second act of the night, “Character and Bears,” written by student Robert Turner, was much like a post-apocalyptic act. The main character had escaped ravenous bears and found shelter in a cabin. However, her escape plan did not work, and she unfortunately fell victim to the bears. 

Finally, the last and longest act of the night, “Pinocchio at the End of the World,” written by student Helika Campbell, took on a different approach compared to the original Pinocchio. 

In a world with no humans and no nature, toys thrive in what is called the “Cardboard Jungle.” Humans have taken such poor care of the environment that all that is left is essentially trash. This play starred Colin Bellairs as the narrator and Kanava Campbell as Pinnochio. 

Bellairs describes what his experience was like. 

“Helika succeeded in writing an honest, down-to-earth exploration of the necessity of ecological reform. Two different approaches to the ecological issue – sleep through it til it fixes itself, or pretend nothing is happening – are lampooned by the characters of the Blue Fairy and the Beast Brigade. This is all wrapped up in the goofiness of the Narrator’s exasperation with Pinnochio and puppet politics, of course, but the tale is consistent and hopeful despite the heavy subject matter it tackles.”

Linfield junior, Mikayla Minton, attended the play and was very impressed.

“These acts were great to watch. There was a perfect mix of entertainment, sarcasm, and political undertone that showed the depth of the actors and directors,” she said. “This was the second play I have attended at Linfield and I have been impressed every time so far.”