by Robert Plowman
directed by Andy Houston and Brooke Barnes
welcome to the tree museum is a multimedia performance, featuring a lumberjack choir, set in a world (much like our own) that is racing towards ecological disaster. The always-exceptional Brash children – Hazy, Queenie, Thunder and Toot - grew up knowing they were the generation that would save the world. In fact, the first time Hazy saved the world she was 13 — and that was the start of all her misfortunes. Years later, when the siblings are brought together by a wedding and illness, they are forced to confront the impending death of the woodland where they spent their childhood. How do we mend the severed connection to family and the environment?
Written by Robert Plowman, welcome to the tree museum was developed in part from a research and creation process undertaken by UWaterloo students last winter. In this process, students learned the meaning of ecology, and their agency in relation to this concept, through performance techniques and extensive research of the subject. The play addresses the disregard humanity holds toward the well-being of our environment, further asking of its audience to revive its once thriving relationship with nature, reintroducing us to our once childlike approach of wonder to the great outdoors.
Can we fall in love with nature, again? Andy Houston, director and professor at UWaterloo, believes we can. Working in collaboration with his design team, several of whom are alumni of the program: Brooke Barnes (student associate director), Kaylee Lock O’Connor (Installation Design), Paul Cegys (video design), Chelsea Vanoverbeke (lighting design), Colin Labadie (music composition, sound design), and Sharon E. Secord (costume design).
With an engagement space open 30 minutes before the performance begins, audience members are given an opportunity to immerse themselves into the world of the performance. Talkbacks with the cast, director, and dramaturgy team, are offered post-production to open the floor to questions and comments from the audience about the performance, as well as the pressing problem of ecological crisis explored in the play.
Please join the Theatre and Performance program in exploring a problem that is getting harder to ignore. Seating is limited. Purchase tickets from our box-office or online in advance to not miss this world premiere.