Parks Canada stepped outside the park boundaries and commissioned a comedy with music with the Piping Plover, Blanding’s Turtle, Ribbon Snake and Flying Squirrel as characters. Why? These creatures represent animals and plants which are species at risk (S.A.R.). They are disappearing from Nova Scotia.
The play has reversed roles for humans and animals. The animal population is very concerned for the future viability of humans. Where are the young adults? 'Turtle' interprets the dwindling numbers to mean a 'die off' in the twenty-something human population. Nova Scotians will recognize this as the increasing out-migration of young people to other parts of Canada.
'Turtle' forms ‘The Society for Humans At Risk Kejimkujik' (S.H.A.R.K.). Their mission is to study the threatened population and come up with a plan. Not all of the animals agree that anything can be or should be done. Turtle needs more data. She’s convinced that they need some kind of decoy so that they can study the population up close. When they involve a local hermit, Turtle and Squirrel find themselves transformed into human 'decoys' and in an awkward situation.
There are 5 songs (two are reprised) and a live musician (with musical additions from cast members.)
The subject of Species At Risk (S.A.R.) is not normally a laughing matter. The question is can people learn about the plight of these threatened animals and about lessening the impact of human activity and have fun? The answer is ‘yes’!
Through story and song, the play explores the issues of change, jobs and the environment. Humans work and play in the habitat of these threatened species. In the 21st century, does sustainable practice for animals mean sustainability for humans?
Commissioned by Parks Canada in 2006, S.H.A.R.K. was conceived as a vehicle to raise awareness around Species At Risk and the environment. Reid worked with biologists and Mi'kmaq storyteller, shalan joudry in developing the play, shalan was a member of the cast as well. (For the recent production in Lunenburg there wasn't an available actor of Mi'kmaq heritage so the show and Hermit's character were rewritten to reflect this circumstance.)
S.H.A.R.K. toured during the summer of 2007, playing festivals and fairs in Lunenburg, Queens and Annapolis Counties. It was remounted for The Locally Yours Festival sponsored by the South Shore Players in Lunenburg for one evening in September 2017.