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Play Journal

ellis - wolf 1
North American wolf
How do you feel about wolves? Would you mind having a pack in the neighbourhood?

The idea came one step closer to reality in the 1990s when the EU passed a directive requiring countries to reintroduce native species.

The playwright Samantha Ellis keeps an exclusive diary for us as she researches 'The Last Wolf in Scotland', her new play about the proposed reintroduction of wolves to the Scottish Highlands, known as 'faunal rewilding'.

Her journal is in four instalments:

    (1) 9 March - 20 September 2006
    Samantha reads about Aboriginal women protesting against the re-introduction of crocodiles, gets an idea for a play and has her own encounter with a wolf.

    (2) 22 September 2006 - 31 January 2007
    Samantha completes the first draft, turns carnivore, and hears a first reading of her play. When wolves hit the headlines, the playwright also receives a declaration of love.

    (3) 21 February 2007 - 9 January 2008
    Samantha sees connections between the wilderness of the Canadian wolf and the unknown places of the Middle East, and between the Scottish Highlanders' experience and that of the Kurdish people. She meets other writers on the wild in Cambridge, finds the wolf in Shakespeare, and considers a wilder future.

    (4) 14 February 2008 - 25 May 2008
    Samantha records her two-month stay at the MacDowell Colony for artists. She compares the American view of nature with the British view, introduces a tree-sitter into another new play, and tries to survive one of the snowiest winters in New England.

photo by Mark Hamblin

Beavers are coming back.

In her latest installment, Samantha considers the native bears, coyotes and wild turkeys encountred in her New England stay at the MacDowell Colony for artists - and the return of beavers to Scotland.

14 February - 25 May


An unexpected benefit

After wolves returned to Yellowstone in 1995, aspens, long mysteriously declining, returned. Willow stands along riverbanks grew more robust. The greater diversity of trees hosted more bird species. Scientists concluded that, during wolves’ long absence from the area, elk and deer had overgrazed willow and aspen. Now, wary of ambush, they avoid dense stands of trees.
Moises Velasquez-Manoff, The Christian Science Monitor

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