I attended opening night of the excellent outdoor production of Mary Jane: The Musical III in Blue Lake ("Pride and Politics," June 25). The onstage band mostly included veterans of the Arcata-based Humboldt music scene; and provided a perfect accompaniment of diverse poignant and original musical numbers, ranging from pop ballads to craft dance tunes, to heavy metal, to reggae.
The focus of the musical was the multi-faceted issue of the Humboldt Marijuana Reality. There was not necessarily a main theme present, unless it was self-analysis of the edgy, romantic regional legacy leading to modern mainstreaming, commercialization and legalization. The message felt relevant to an industry built from being stoned; passionately inspired; or recklessly commercial; or caught up in its own vision of herbal healing and spirituality.
Marijuana was basically presented as a wrongly-feared, benign inebriant; something which kills nobody, as opposed to alcohol, which kills plenty through physical toxicity. Absent was the mention of psychological dependence, which is known about the modern high-potency forms of the weed. The subject of general sales regarding medical pot seemed to produce barely detectable snickering from the audience.
Humorous (possibly endearing) parodies were inferred regarding local professionals and politicians, including a news editor named after a vacuum cleaner; also a picture prop of a SoHum supervisor that kept flip-flopping (probably accidentally) during the song and dance.
Metaphysical morals and economic slant aside, the production was enjoyable for being inclusively local, hip and full of talent. A delightful creation of local theater art, it surely addresses Humboldt's unique position in the modern Western world. It asks questions: Where do we go from here? Can we avoid, or do better than corporatization? Can we be honest with ourselves, our children and the world in general?
Just like being high, this show might heighten some awareness without providing decisive answers. In high style, of course.
Rik Rieder, McKinleyvile