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A true story about the first climate change refugees in the U.S. and San Francisco lawyer Luke Cole’s response to their predicament.
A true story about the first climate change refugees in the U.S. and San Francisco lawyer Luke Cole’s response to their predicament.
118 backers pledged $14,927 to help bring this project to life.

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$14,927

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Arctic Requiem: The Story of Luke Cole and Kivalina

A new play by Sharmon J. Hilfinger with music by Joan McMillen

Directed by Tracy Ward

World Premiere Produced by BootStrap Theater Foundation

October 23 - November 15, 2015              Z Below, San Francisco, CA

The powerful and true story of the first climate change refugees in the United States and San Francisco lawyer Luke Cole comes to the stage in this riveting drama from award-winning team Sharmon Hilfinger and Joan McMillen. 

Kivalina, Alaska is an Inupiat Eskimo village still practicing the tradition of subsistence living. Today, that tradition and the village itself are threatened by pollution, rising seas and storms due to climate change. Ignored by their own tribal corporation and betrayed by the EPA, the villagers turn to environmental justice lawyer Luke Cole. Deep and unlikely friendships evolve between Luke and the Inupiats as they stand together against greed, corruption, prejudice and pollution in an arctic environment whose transformation may be irreversible. 

Hilfinger and McMillen bring their trademark mix of narrative and music to the production. Building on the success of their last two dramatizations of the lives of Georgia O'Keeffe ("Hanging Georgia roils and twists across the stage like a Texas Lightning storm," San Jose Mercury News) and Emily Dickinson ("surprising theatrical bliss," Palo Alto Weekly) the playwright and composer apply the tools they've honed for dramatic biography to the most urgent story of our time: the fight against climate change. Acclaimed director Tracy Ward (The Shaker Chair, Hunter Gatherers) heads up the team of Bay Area notables. The all-Equity cast includes Damon K Sperber, Michael Torres, Lynne Soffer, Cathleen Riddley, Lawrence Radecker, and Gendell Hing-Hernandez. Choreography by Christy Funsch, Musical Direction by Alva Henderson, and Dramaturgy by Brian Thorstenson.   Our top-notch designers are: Giulio Perrone, set; Jim Cave, lighting; Callie Floor and Megan LaFleur, costumes; Devon LaBelle, props.

We have recruited some of the most respected theater makers in the Bay Area.Your donations will go directly toward the salaries of our artists.  The play is written, but to come to life it needs actors' hearts and minds, designers' eyes and ears, and a director's guiding hand. For us, nothing is more demanding, nor more rewarding than this collaborative work. In a time when funding for the arts has been drastically cut, whatever level you can pledge toward the care and feeding of our creative team will be most appreciated.

Donations are tax deductible. BootStrap Theater Foundation's non-profit 501(3) corporation number: 30-0639969

Risks and challenges

BootStrap Theater Foundation's mission is to develop and produce new works for the theater. We are a nomad theater company performing throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, without a fixed home. Thus, our challenge is to build our audience for each production. We are very proud to be performing at Z Below and pleased to have the marketing help of Z Space to spread the word to the theater-going community. We are also working closely with Nancy Shelby (Producer), who was Luke Cole's wife, to connect to Luke's community, for whom this play will have special meaning.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Luke's Troops
    Luke was all about working "from the ground up," getting all of us involved. Join Luke's Troops and we'll shout-out your name on our website and program.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Arctic Terns
    Amazing birds that log enough flight miles to reach the moon. Help us "over the moon" and we'll shout-out your name and give you an Arctic Requiem poster signed by our creative team.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Ugruk (Inupiat for Bearded Seal)
    Ugruk meat and oil provides vital sources of protein and Vitamin C for the Kivalina Villagers. Be a vital part of the campaign and receive a shout-out, a signed poster, and 1 ticket to a preview show.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Chocolate Club
    Luke was such a chocolate-lover and a member of the Berkeley Chocolate Club. Join our Kickstarter club and we'll shout-out your name, give you 1 ticket to the show (as available, Galas & Special Events excluded) and a favorite chocolate chosen by Luke's club.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Crested Auklets
    Luke, an avid Birder, added yet another bird species to his Alaksa bird list when he saw a Crested Auklet in Alaska. Show your true feathers at this level and receive a shout-out, and 2 tickets to the show (as available, Galas & Special Events excluded).

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Caribou
    The nomad Inupiat Eskimos followed these graceful herds, an important source of meat and skins for clothing. Follow us at this level and receive a shout-out, and 2 tickets to the Special Event Nov. 1st performance with post-show panel of CRPE attorneys who worked on Kivalina's Clean Water Act and Global Warming cases (or 2 tickets to any show, as available, excluding Galas).

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Walrus Tusks
    The walrus meat feeds the Inupiat and the tusks are often carved as artwork. Help us harvest our art and receive a shout-out and a frame-able photo collage based on the Arctic Requiem poster. Join us at the theater with 2 tickets to the Donor Gala (or any show, as available, excluding Opening Gala).

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Bowhead Whales
    Bowheads are the most honored creature in the Inupiat culture. One whale can feed an entire village for much of the winter. Help feed this entire production and receive a special invitation to an insider's preview of the production. Receive a frame-able photo collage based on the Arctic Requiem poster. Join us at the theater with 4 tickets to the Donor Gala (or any show, as available, excluding Opening Gala).

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    Raven
    Raven is the mythical creator of the Inupiat world and has transformative powers. Transform our production! Be mythical! Receive 4 tickets to the Opening Gala or 6 tickets to any show, as available. You will also be invited to a special insider's preview of the the production. Best of all, by arrangement, BootStrap Chef Luis will cook a paella dinner for you and your guests. And of course you shall have the honor of having given us wings!

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Funding period

- (30 days)