Chesapeake Quarterly Volume 6, Number 2: Performance Honors Rachel Carson's Life and Work
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Performance Honors Rachel Carson's Life and Work

By Jessica Smits

Rachel Carson - Lear/Carson Collection
Kaiulani Lee.jpg - Davis Spylios Management
Rachel Carson at work and Kaiulani Lee, who portrays her in a one-woman shown about the scientist and writer. Photographs courtesy of Lear/Carson Collection (left) and Davis Spylios Management (right).

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Maryland Sea Grant will host a performance of A Sense of Wonder, a one-woman show based on the life and work of famed writer and naturalist Rachel Carson, who would have turned 100 this year.

Carson loved the sea, and she loved to write. A marine biologist by training, she had a penchant for exploring the coast and a knack for explaining complex ecological processes with lyrical ease. Her ocean-related writings include Under the Sea Wind, The Sea Around Us, and The Edge of the Sea.

Though these works established her reputation, Carson is now best known for her attack on indiscriminate pesticide use in her landmark book, Silent Spring. This work catalyzed public concern over the issue and helped to spark an environmental movement.

In A Sense of Wonder, Kaiulani Lee performs as Carson, bringing to life the writer's relationship with the natural world and her efforts to protect it. For over ten years the show has played to rave reviews throughout the United States and abroad. John A. Hoyt, former Chief Executive of The Humane Society of the United States notes, "To see and hear Kaiulani Lee is to have been touched by Rachel Carson herself."

Celebrating Maryland Sea Grant's thirty years of service with a Rachel Carson performance seems a natural fit. In addition to her love of the sea, Carson had a strong connection to the state of Maryland. She received a Master of Arts in zoology from Johns Hopkins University, wrote articles on nature for the Baltimore Sun, and spent the later part of her life in the city of Silver Spring.

A Sense of Wonder will take place at 7 pm on Friday, December 7, 2007 in the Kogod Theatre at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Admission is free, but seating is limited so please register in advance by e-mailing or calling 301.405.6375.

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