Erica Harris (left) and Shelby Surdyk pose as American soldiers during ‘For the Good of Mankind.’ Andrew Cremata

DDF team’s powerful performance wins praise from Marshall Islands

Skagway High School students Erica Harris and Shelby Surdyk did a phenomenal amount of research for their Drama, Debate and Forensics piece, “For the Good of Mankind.” Their 12-minute readers theatre duo tells the story of the people of the Marshall Islands, specifically those who were moved off Bikini Atoll for U.S. military nuclear testing, but not far enough. To this day, the Marshallese people still suffer from the nuclear fallout of several tests in the islands and cannot go home. Their performance has moved people in Skagway and may soon make its way to the South Pacific.
The piece was a finalist at the state DDF meet last week in Anchorage, but it is already winning praise on a Marshallese website, and the Skagway students have been invited to go to the islands this summer. They have started raising $6,000 for the trip.
“When I read that your students had done a presentation on these issues I was so excited because most Americans can't tell you where the Marshall Islands are, let alone about the bombings and the subsequent consequences that the people still live with,” wrote Patty Schreiber of Chicago in an e-mail to Skagway DDF director Kent Fielding. She has adopted two high school students from Ebeye across from the military base at Kwajalein, and is planning the June visit. – JB

Read the SHS stundents' interview with Senator Juda

DDF Showcase

Photos by Andrew Cremata & Jeff Brady

Above, Arielle Stegall and Tom Kirko act out their twisted “Wedding Story,” Erica Harris lectures about “Darfur,” driver Lary Martinez deadpans as Trevor Van Houten raves about “The Flying Car,” Shelby Surdyk acts out an atrocity in “For the Good of Mankind,” and Van Houten performs Woody Allen’s hilarious short story, “The Whore of Mensa,” which won first in Southeast Alaska.