Gerald Pelrine presents "The Tale of Stickeen"
Gerald Pelrine's riveting rendition of Stickeen is available on the John Muir Tribute CD.
When John Muir and an adventurous dog are trapped among the cracks and
crevasses of a glacier amidst darkening skies and a driving storm, their struggle for survival is as profound and dramatic as tales from Shakespeare or the Bible.
In John Muir's most popular book (and most requested topic in public), he recounts the
inspiring story of being hopelessly trapped on an Alaska glacier with the
small dog Stickeen.
The result is the powerfully transforming realization that all living
beings, and indeed all life - share a common soul.
Rich with references from Shakespeare, the Bible, and his beloved
countryman Robert Burns, Mr. Muir's powers of poetic description are never greater
than when describing the stormy grandeur of Alaska as backdrop to this epic tale.
Gerald Pelrine offers his critically acclaimed characterization of Muir
as lecturer reliving the
experience and the lessons learned: the great crevasse of the glacier as
symbol of "the valley of
the shadow of death." little Stickeen perched atop its rim, the joy of
deliverance, and his
shattering view of eternity seen through the eyes of "the silent,
GERALD PELRINE is an actor, writer, folk singer, and puppeteer who lives "up
North" in Door County, Wisconsin. He has written and performed for Wisconsin Public
Television and performed on tour across the U.S. For a number of years his theater work focused on folk singing and storytelling. In 1988 he first portrayed John Muir in "The Mountains Call My Name" presented by the Heritage Ensemble at the Peninsula State Park Amphitheater in Door County.
On the potential of STICKEEN* to earn a place among the classics of
world dramatic literature Pelrine says:
"Classic tales don't start out
carved in polished marble. Cain and Abel, Romeo and Juliet, and Aladdin with his Lamp were all once stories simply told,
sometimes of an actual event,
or perhaps an invention of their creator. Eventually they are recognized as
powerful characteristics, and they gain a new status. Generations,
cultures, even civilizations
rise and fall honoring the truth and clarity of such works. After 120
years as a popular "dog story" and
Mr. Muir's most popular book, scholars such as Ronald H. Limbaugh are
taking the tale to another level with discussions of its sources and inner
content.** Noted actors such as Lee Salisbury and Lee Stetson have given it
a prominent status in their repertoire.*** I predict its
next level of illumination will be as an example of the somewhat buddhistic
or "New Age" view
of the interconnectedness of all life; this philosophic approach to
understanding life is currently
gaining ascendance at the occasion of the new millennium. As a teaching of
of all beings, I believe it is what great Zen masters have long referred to
as 'a finger pointing
at the moon.'"
Resources on Stickeen
* Stickeen by John Muir
**John Muir's "Stickeen" and the Lessons of Nature, Ronald H. Limbaugh,
University of Alaska Press, 1996
***Stickeen, John Muir's Classic Tale, audio cassette, performed by Lee
Salisbury, Haven Books Audio, North Hollywood CA, 1999
***"Stickeen," Lee Stetson, audio cassette, 1988
Critical Praise for Gerald Pelrine's portrayal of John Muir:
"Muir is played winningly, with bravura brogue, by Gerald Pelrine, who is
at his peak here,
warmly delivering anecdotes from Muir's writings." Mike Drew, The
"An outstanding and inspirational evening of theatre." Chan Harris, The
Door County Advocate
"Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! The students were mesmerized the
entire time. Gerald
Pelrine is an actor of the highest calibre. Your play not only breathed
new life into John Muir, the
students were left feeling a moral sense of responsibility towards planet
Earth. You have
accomplished in one day what we have been striving for all year."
Mimi Wohnrade, Special Projects Coordinator, Gibraltar Area Schools, Fish
"I would like to commend you for making John Muir a real human type of
James F. Krems, Principal, Rosholt High School, Rosholt, Wisconsin
"My favorite bit on the John Muir Tribute CD. is when actor Gerald Pelrine tells the story of
Gary Bogue, The Contra Costa Times
Gerald Pelrine is an actor, singer, playwright, occasional columnist,
puppeteer, and author living
Door County, Wisconsin. He has written and performed for Wisconsin Public
performed on tour throughout the Midwest. For a number of years his
theater work focused on
folk singing and storytelling.
In 1988 Pelrine portrayed John Muir in "The Mountains Call My Name," first
presented by the
Heritage Ensemble at the Peninsula State Park Amphitheater in Fish Creek.
The next year he
co-authored a play entitled "Mule For Breakfast Again" based on the Civil
War writings of
former Wisconsin Governor George W. Peck. Both works became studio
Wisconsin Public Television.
Pelrine earned a B.F.A. in Theater Studies from UW-Milwaukee in 1980. He
in Sister Bay with wife Patrice, daughter Genevieve, and little friend
Daisy, who Pelrine
describes as "undoubtedly the reincarnation of Stickeen."
For more information, see Gerald Pelrine - Living People Influenced by John Muir.
608 N 3rd Ave
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Return to Other Live Presentations of John Muir
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