The Man Who Planted Trees – An Inspiration to Us All

March 19, 2010
There were four school performances of The Man Who Planted Trees at the Crossroads Theatre over March 16th and 17th. There were approximately 940 people there over the two days in grades 1 through 6 and every single person that walked out of the theater loved the show. Anybody who has seen the show is quick to tell you that the dog, who is one of the best puppets I’ve ever seen in theater, is their favorite part. The play follows the narrator, Jean, through France in the early to mid-1900s and through both World Wars, but he always manages to return to visit Elzéard Bouffier and his little dog. We watch as Elzéard plants hundreds of thousands of trees of all types all over southern France and turns a dry, barren expanse into a lush green area. To help us experience the change, the actors waft lavender throughout the auditorium and explain that in the original climate, the only thing that can grow is lavender, a durable plant that doesn’t need much water. Later, we are shown the new forest when we are misted with “rain” and get to experience a truly woodsy scent as it’s dispersed throughout the audience by one of the actors.

The adults and the children in the audience laughed at the dog’s comedic relief and watched in awe as the simple set, originally covered in brown fabrics, is transformed into bright green trees and landscape. While a very simple show, The Man Who Planted Trees showed that you don’t need special effects to connect with an audience and get them to enjoy the show.

—Jennifer Cunha, Education Assistant

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