THE WEIRD TREE (FRINGE)
In a kingdom far away, there grows a tree so tall that no one has ever seen its bough. The king announces that whoever manages to get to the top and bring him the fruit of the tree, will get the princess's hand in marriage, and become heir to the kingdom.
Many try, but all fail, until one MAN finally finds an ingenious way to climb the tree successfully. But after a week of climbing, when he reaches the first branches, he stumbles upon a silver castle with three cursed girls inside. The real quest is just beginning ...
Based on a Slovenian fairy tale, The Weird Tree is a spiritual journey where making sense of the world means diving deep into the subconscious and figuring out the self first.
The Weird Tree was originally produced at the Studio Theatre at Columbia University in 2013.
The Weird Tree was shown at the Robert Moss Theatre as part of the FringeNYC festival. It opened on Augist 16th, 2015. Photos by Krystle Henninger.
The Weird Tree
Based on the Slovenian fairy tale The Weird Tree
Directed by Peter Petkovsek
Produced by Invisible Wall Productions Inc.
Supported by the Slovenian Ministry of Culture and the Slovenian Embassy in Washington D.C.
and devised by the Ensemble
Original music by Peter Žargi
Graphic Design by Eva Mlinar
Lighting Design by Sarah Lang
Staged Managed by Krystle Henninger
Eunyoung Bona Jung
Jeanne Lauren Smith
Listen to the Narrator introduce the show!
The Weird Tree is a beautiful story about the journey into one's self and subconscious in order to replace a missing anima, or the feminine essence, into the world. It is also a lesson on how much of our own interior is uknown to us, and how big the cosmos is compared to a single human being. Once you meet the Moon, the Sun and the Winds face to face (along with some of their mothers!), things snap into a bigger perspective.
The director used to listen to this story on a cassette and an old-fashioned radio. The show tries to capture some of that childlike amazement and instinctive understanding and share it with its audiences. It was created as a collaborative effort between several playwrights and the ensemble, which gives it a universal, all-embracing quality.
Author and climber Nejc Zaplotnik wrote in his book, The Way: "He who strives to reach a goal will remain empty when he achieves it, but he who finds the way, will carry the goal inside him." The Weird Tree confirms that statement: at the beginning its main hero, MAN, alternately played by every single member of the cast, wants to reach a certain goal. However, he soon realizes that life always manages to surprise us and set us on wildly different paths than the ones we imagined. In the end, he might not be satisfied with the ultimate achievement, but he has experienced an intense ride through his own conscious and subconscious.
The show was originally created and produced at Columbia University in 2013. It has been revisited and reworked for FringeNYC.
"The audience is led through a series of distinct worlds, expressed as brief vignettes containing physical movement, text, and music, ranging from classical to folk to electronic. The result is a terrific rush of unpredictable surprises."
"Part fairytale, part social commentary, and part absurdity, The Weird Tree bravely and refreshingly aims toward something bigger than itself. If you believe, as I do, that theater should push the boundaries of reality, devise wild ambitious experiments, and reflect the unknowable depths of the human spirit, then The Weird Tree will not disappoint."
Anne Cecelia Haney, Theatre is Easy
"When the actors are not being the Hero, they are a Greek chorus, victims, persecutors and forces of nature. They are uniformly good, using both subtle and over-the-top physical movements to embody the many characters they play."
Josephine Cashman, NY Theatre Now
"Petkovsek never ceases to amaze. He kept the piece moving, jumping from scene to scene, incorporating a blend of live and recorded voiceovers and allowing lighting designer Sarah Lang to offer an abundance of stunning lighting looks."
"The acting company, comprised of Grace Denoncourt, Michael Donaldson, Ken Jackson, Eunyoung Bona Jung, and Jeanne Lauren Smith, made Petkovsek’s world look enchanted. The five actors worked cohesively as a unit, bringing an energetic urgency to the piece."
Michael Bradley Block, Theatre in the Now
"The tale is a wonderful allegory of how life never goes exactly the way we plan it, but finds its little twists and turns, light and dark, and puts things in perspective: once you meet the Moon and her brother, the Sun, face to face, humanity’s place in the cosmos snaps into a sharper and grander focus. We tried to capture the universality and beauty of the original, since fairy tales represent the time-bleached skeletal structure of the human self and consciousness – not all of which is just good and pleasant! There is something very primal in fairy tales that reaches us on a quite visceral level, and we wanted to embody that."
Published at Theatre in the Now, interviewer Michael Block
"Finding your path in life calls for a certain measure of self-awareness: you need to get to know yourself to a certain degree, which is not always easy or pleasant. In The Weird Tree the hero, the titular tree of knowledge, meeting the Moon, the Sun and the Winds who all help him towards his goal, but even more signifi cantly, they open his eyes to the realization that Man is just one element of the universe around him."
Published in the Slovenian American Times, interviewer Veronica Pisorn
"The New York Theater scene is very international. There are somany different cultures present, and they all enrich each other."
(Slovenian) Published on Radio Val 202, interviewer Maja Ratej