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The See-Saw Tree

Full-Length Play, Drama  /  4w, 4m

This interactive play with music, about an ancient oak standing on property earmarked for development into a children’s playground, addresses an important environmental issue in an entertaining but thought-provoking way.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    4w, 4m
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Children (Age 6 - 10), Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)

Details

Summary
The See-Saw Tree looks at an important environmental issue in an entertaining but thought-provoking way. The See-Saw Tree, an ancient oak, stands on ground which is ear-marked for development into a children’s playground by Mr. Jay, owner of the nearby supermarket. A public meeting is called in the village hall to discuss his proposals, which include cutting down the three-hundred-year-old oak. The audience votes in favour, but Mr. Bunn, an environmental activist, protests and shows us the devastating effect such plans will have on the inhabitants of the tree – the main part of the play tells the story of these creatures (played by their human equivalents), their panic, their resilience and their evacuation from the tree. In the end, the audience is asked to vote whether or not the See-Saw Tree should be saved.
History
The See-Saw Tree was originally commissioned by the Redgrave Theatre, Farnham. The first performance was given by the Farnham Repertory Company, sponsored by Arundell House Securities on 18 March 1986.
Cast Attributes

Each actor plays two parts, the human role linked with the animal role.

ACTOR 1:
Mrs Wise – The Chairperson of the Parish Council. Solid, fair and authoritative.
Owl – The leader of the oak community.

ACTOR 2:
Mrs Dunnock – Secretary of the Parish Council. Keeps a low profile. Efficient, helpful, knowledgeable but unshowy.
Dunnock – A rather drab, hardworking bird, willing to perform menial tree tasks, cleaning, taking messages, etc.

ACTOR 3:
Mr Storer – Business-like, financially orientated Treasurer of the Parish Council.
Squirrel – Home-loving, conservative, occasionally excitable member of the tree community.

ACTOR 4:
Mr Jay – Rather flashy supermarket owner, smarmy business man, ingratiating.
Jay – A flash itinerant member of the tree community, popping in and out almost as a travelling salesman, on the lookout for a good opportunity.

ACTOR 5:
Mrs Thrush – A fairly outspoken woman who takes public service seriously and loudly espouses a cause.
Mistlethrush – A strident member of the tree community, builder of untidy nests, not afraid to be outspoken.

ACTOR 6:
Mrs Cook – Not a local person, but not afraid to put her views. Might be regarded as somewhat common by the residents.
Cuckoo – An itinerant visitor to the tree, a colourful character from Africa, whose sole motive for visiting is to dump her egg in some unsuspecting bird's nest.

ACTOR 7:
Mr Bunn – A concerned conservationist. Outspoken.
Rabbit – A member of the animals' underground movement. Resistance leader. Practical.

ACTOR 8:
Mr Batty — Entrepreneur, whizz-kid smooth operator.
Bat — Hi-tech way-out member of the tree community. His radar comes in useful. He has big headphones connected to a “Walkman” style radio.

Each actor plays two parts, the human role linked with the animal role.

  • Time Period Contemporary, Present Day
  • Setting The Village Hall. The present.
  • Features Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Fantasy Costumes
  • Cautions
    • No Special Cautions

Media

“Wonderful... The kids were riveted.” – The Guardian

“The See-Saw Tree is a brilliantly inventive, often amusing and sometimes even harrowing work.” – Farnham Post

“The rapt silence of the audience was evidence of the impact the play made… provides an invaluable guideline to the young about the importance of the environment.” – The Stage

“The kids were riveted [and] the verdict afterwards was unanimous. Wonderful.” – The Guardian

“No-one knows more about the needs of children’s theatre than gifted playwright-composer David Wood.” – Evening Telegraph

“Wonderful for children and exciting theatre for the adults.” – Farnham Herald

“Entertaining, educational and miraculously worthy without being heavy.” – Western Daily Press

Videos

  • David Wood on Doing It Yourself youtube thumbnail

    David Wood on Doing It Yourself

  • David Wood on Getting Started As a Playwright youtube thumbnail

    David Wood on Getting Started As a Playwright

  • David Wood on Challenges In His Plays youtube thumbnail

    David Wood on Challenges In His Plays

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £70 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

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Authors

David Wood

David Wood has been called “the national children’s dramatist” (London Times). His plays are performed worldwide, and include The Gingerbread Man, The Plotters of Cabbage Patch Corner, Save the Human, Aladdin, Hijack Over Hygenia, Jack the Lad, Larry the Lamb in Toytown, Old ...

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