Contributed photo

Island history in “Mrs. Bave Presents the Pig War”

  • Tue Sep 26th, 2017 7:23am
  • Life

Submitted by Bellingham TheatreWorks

This October, Bellingham TheatreWorks premieres Steve Lyons’ comedy “Mrs. Bave Presents the Pig War” at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, at the San Juan Community Theatre. Tickets at $19 and can be purchased at the door or

Subtitled “The almost true story of a play that nearly happened about a war that never occurred,” at the center of this comedy is the Pig War of 1859, which was a border dispute between the United States and Britain over ownership of the San Juan Islands. This war is significant because ultimately there was no war; peace was chosen over war.

This comedy is inspired by the wacky, true tale of Emilia Bave and her “San Juan Saga.” Mrs. Bave’s play was originally presented in 1959 on San Juan Island in celebration of the centennial of the Pig War. The premiere of the play featured local acting talent. However, when she wanted to re-mount the play the following year, she found no one wanted to participate. Undaunted, she re-wrote the script to be a narration with the reluctant actors replaced by mannequins. Using her mannequin cast, she presented her play to unsuspecting visitors for nearly 20 years.

In our comedy, Mrs. Bave’s cantankerous Pig War mannequins spring to life. When they discover how horrible the script is, even the mannequins refuse to be in her play unless they can tell the true story of the Pig War. So, Mrs. Bave presents the actual Pig War tale, as told by the mannequins who were there.

The Pig War is one of the few examples in our country’s history in which diplomacy triumphs over war. Although tempers flared, the Americans and the British ultimately resolved their dispute over the ownership of the San Juan Islands peacefully. San Juan National Historical Park is the only national park in the nation that celebrates the peaceful resolution of conflict.

The world needs more examples of countries resolving differences peacefully. And we have a beautiful example of that in our own backyard.