a new work in development by Merry Ellefson

Juneau, Anchorage, Nome, & Fairbanks, Alaska


SURVIVING is a new

interview-inspired play by Merry Ellefson, directed by Shona Osterhout, with advisement and guidance from Tommy Ellanna (Inupiaq) (Nome/King Island). Inspired by Ed Fortier’s “One Survived,” an account of the 1949 survival story of a stranded King Island hunter, Merry is facilitating an interview process with diverse Alaskans (Elders, scientists, politicians, teachers, teens, artists, health professionals, endurance athletes, etc in Juneau, Anchorage, Nome, Fairbanks). From those varied sources, she is creating a piece that will include reflections and interpretations of themes including survival, colonization, endurance, faith, adaptation, environment and the economy. As Alaska’s ice thins--literally, from climate change, and metaphorically from the state’s depletion of social support across sectors--we intend for Surviving to invite community members to gather on a metaphorical ice floe from which we can reflect and move forward, stronger and together.  We are also ensuring a pace which will result in a scene from SURVIVING to be shared in UAF’s One Health Conference in March 2020.