COURTESY COREY HOMEWOOD
What are the odds of a guy from Iowa getting hired to teach sea kayaking and lead expeditions on Lake Superior? It’s unheard of, says Corey Homewood.
But it happened to Corey. He is in his fifth summer of working at Living Adventure, a company in Bayfield, Wisconsin, that offers kayak instruction and day and overnight trips in the Apostle Islands.
Corey grew up in Iowa City, the eastern Iowa community dominated by the University of Iowa campus where he studied theater and education. He first came to northern Wisconsin in 2003 to work as a summer camp fishing director in Lake Nebagamon, and was drawn to Lake Superior.
Since then, he has continued to pursue his passion for theater and the outdoors. And in a dream come true, his first play, “Superior Story,” is being produced this summer by Chequamegon Theatre Association in Ashland and the Duluth Play Ground, which is part of the Duluth Playhouse.
The original comedy will run June 28-30 and July 1 at the Rinehart Theatre in Ashland. At the Play Ground’s theater in the Duluth Technology Village on East Superior Street, it runs June 28-30 and July 5-7. Corey, who is 28, will direct the Play Ground production.
“Superior Story” is about the Mack family’s summer vacation to Isle Royale National Park and awkward moments that arise in part by having daughter Jess’ boyfriend along. On the way to the park, the ferry boat sinks in a vicious gale, stranding the family on a wilderness shoal. It means surviving in the wilderness without the aid of modern technology they depend on – cell phones, iPod, weather radio all were lost with the boat.
Jess’ boyfriend Colin not only gets asthma attacks, but he’s afraid of almost everything. He faces competition from a bearded caveman who can catch fish, make a fire and perform other wildernesss feats. In the end, Colin has to prove himself.
Corey wrote the play using his own experiences, on the Lake and on vacation. During a family trip to Mexico, his sister brought along her boyfriend, and he “was very similar to Colin – wimpy,” Corey says.
Ultimately, the play “is about love and family, and accepting each other for what you are and embracing that.” Another theme is love of nature versus love of technology. It also touches on the importance of knowing basic survival skills, such as making shelter and filtering water.
Also part of the play’s message is the importance of preserving Lake Superior for future generations.
Chequamegon Theatre Association is in its 40th season. “We just really felt it was a perfect selection for our summer season,” says Deb Ellefson, the group’s president says of Corey’s play. It deals with Lake Superior, a family on vacation and such issues as today’s teens always wanting to be on their cell phones.
Corey says that if it wasn’t for his job at Living Adventure, “I don’t think any of this would be possible.” Owner Gail Green “trusted me to lead people on these multiday trips to the islands. It gave me the confidence to do more than just kayak … It inspired me to tap into my artistic side.”
The Duluth Play Ground, 11 E. Superior Street, Duluth. 218-733-7555, duluthplayhouse.org.
Chequamegon Theatre Association, Rinehart Theatre, 210 5th Avenue East, Ashland. 715-682-5554, ctatheatre.cloudaccess.net.