For release at will: December 1, 1998.


San Juan National Historical Park

Division of Interpretation





...."Pickett" Performance, Historical or Hysterical?

....Puget Sound Organizations Win Either Way.

As a fund raising function, or for historically correct educational entertainment, organizations and schools in the Puget Sound area have the opportunity to offer "An Evening With George Pickett." The program is a tragicomic, critically acclaimed, two-man play made available in cooperation with the National Park Service.

By sponsoring a performance, organizations may raise funds for themselves and the Service's interpretative program on San Juan Island.

The play accurately portrays the bumbling yet courageous life of the the legendary Pickett of "Picketts Charge" at Gettysburg, who lost two-thirds of his division in the battle. He was stationed on San Juan Island before the Civil War and was a critical figure in the Pig War there that never occurred.

In the performance, Pickett rises from the grave to tell the truth about his life and dispute the extraordinary, but highly complimentary, exaggerations about him that his wife brings to the public for the 50 years following his death in 1875.

As an outreach venture for the Park's interpretive program actor/comedian Mike Vouri, Park Ranger/Interpreter at the Park and a leading expert on Pickett's life, joins with veteran folk singer Mike Cohen, to perform the two-act play written by Vouri.

Cohen punctuates the narrative with traditional songs of the period that allude to incidents in Pickett's life. He is a park volunteer who is an ecopsychologist in real life.

Of special interest is Pickett's description of the following historical event leading to the establishment of the Park:


Crisis: June 15, 1859. San Juan Island, Washington Territory:
An American settler, Lyman Cutlar shot and killed a pig belonging to the British Hudson's Bay Company because it was rooting in his garden on this island that is in dispute between the two countries. British authorities threaten to arrest Cutlar, American citizens request U.S. military protection and a company of the 9th U.S. Infantry under Captain George E. Pickett encamps at South Beach. The British respond with a fort on Garrison Bay creating the potential for an international "Pig War."


The Pig War was peacefully arbitrated by Kaiser Wilhelm I, in 1772 , without a shot being fired other than at Cutlar's pig. Today, both British and American camps make up San Juan Island National Historical Park.

"An Evening With George Pickett" has successfully played for three summers to enthusiastic audiences at the San Juan Community Theatre &Art Centre, including a 10-week run in 1998 as part of the theater's "Summerfest."

The production intimately covers Pickett's childhood in Virginia and Illinois, his attendance at West Point, participation in the Mexican War, fighting Indians in Texas, the San Juan Island years and his participation in the Civil War.


A veteran actor, Vouri played Pickett to enthusiastic houses at the The San Juan Community Theatre and Art Centre for the past three years. He has also appeared as Elyot Chase in in the Theatre's 1996 production of "Private Lives" directed by Andrew V. McLaglen. Vouri was the curator of the exhibition, "George Pickett and the Frontier Army Experience" which ran 1994-95 at the Whatcom Museum of History and Art in Bellingham. He is currently at work on a book about the "PigWar."







Mike Cohen plays "Private Mike, " and sings period folk songs in conjunction with Pickett's story. He is a veteran folk musician who, along with his brother, John Cohen (New Lost City Ramblers) played a prominent role in the New York City folk scene in the 1950s. Cohen holds a Doctorate in Environmental Psychology and is the founder and director of Project NatureConnect, a nonprofit nature based psychology organization on San Juan Island.






Puget Sound organizations, schools or individuals interested in sponsoring the program in their community should contact:

Mike Vouri, Director of Interpretation
San Juan Island National Historical Park,
P.O. Box 429
Friday Harbor, WA, 98250
360-378-2902 or 360-378-4862
Email: SAJH_Interpretation@ccmail.itd.nps.gov (SAJH Interpretation)