The Man Who Planted Trees

Show: The Man Who Planted Trees

Venue:  Royal Exchange Studio

Dates:  to 31 Dec 2016, mostly 11.30 and 2.30.

Target age:  There are moments that would appeal to young children but I think that in order to follow the language used in the narrative, probably 8+.

What’s the story?  A man is travelling in France in 1913 and meets a local farmer who is planting trees in a previously barren landscape.  A story about how one person can make a huge difference, particularly relevant in today’s environmental landscape.

How is it done?  Classic storytelling from two actors, with a lovely hand puppet dog, and the world of the story created on a small set with models and props.  Some lovely effects to invoke plants and weather.

What’s good for kids?  This is an interesting story with fascinating characters and a message that will resonate with children.  There are some very funny moments, especially with the dog.

What about adults?  In many parts of the world with a puppet tradition, this could be an adult story.  There is enough complexity, and clever use of language, to engage adults.  Puppets aren’t just for children!

What can grown up theatre learn from this?  I’d like to think that puppets are becoming an accepted part of mainstream theatre, and this show demonstrates that if you choose carefully how to use techniques more commonly found in children’s shows you can produce impressive effects.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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