Republic of Trees A Tale Between Earth and Sky This project is an ongoing investigation and adaptation of Baron in the Trees from Our Ancestors, by Italo Calvino. Haven’t we all, at some point in our lives, wanted to live in a tree? We call this theatre-form ‘Arboreal Theatre’ and this production is designed to adapt to a variety of public spaces providing they contain the prerequisite quantity of trees and the necessary safe accessibility for performers, set elements and the public. The creative team have developed this project as part residency, installation and performance. Director, Rigger, writer and arborists are closely involved in adapting the work to any given site. Drawing on local expertise, material resources, history, environment and ecology to ensure the work is embedded wholly into the site.
Dan Mitchell Director/Designer Adaptation Wayne Macauley Quarteracreblock Productions
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Video by Hamish McCormick Editor Dan Mitchell Photos Aaron Walker
“….in those first days they had begun to be an instinctive part of him. Now it was a whole different world, made up of narrow bridges in the emptiness, of knots or peel or scores of roughening the trunks, of lights varying the green according to the veils of thicker or scarcer leaves, trembling at the first quiver of air on the shoots or moving like sails with the bend of the tree in the wind. While down below our world lay flattened, and our bodies looked quite disproportionate and we certainly understood nothing of what he knew up there - he who spent his nights listening to the sap germinating from cells, the circles marking the years inside the trunks, the mould enlarging its patches quivering under the north wind, the birds asleep in their nests quivering then resettling their heads in the softest down of their wings, and the caterpillar waking, and the chrysalis opening………The sounds draw each other on, and eventually the ear distinguishes more and more of them - just as to fingers unwinding a ball of wool every yarn shows itself interwoven with threads that seem progressively subtler and more impalpable. …….”
(from the novel, The Baron in the Trees, by Italo Calvino)
Reviews .. I’m still not sure whether in my memory I should file the show away under visual art or theatre, but either way, it was spectacular. John van Tiggelen, Editor The Monthly
“Dan mitchell and his small production house quarteracreblock have pulled off a beautiful, if not serenely stunning piece of theatre here” Genevieve Barlow ABC Radio Open
Responses from the public. “Imaginative, exceptionally performed, magic setting, meaningful”
“A true Festival event. It would not be possible to see such a theatrical experience except at a Festival. Amazing production.”
“Innovative design and idea. Humorous, relevant, topical, enjoyable and beautiful surrounds.”
The Republic of Trees Manifesto By Francesca Bussey Everywhere we see destruction and degradation – money has enslaved our hearts and minds; politicians are dead in their suits; the dispossessed have not hope nor home; and nature rebels at the monstrosity of our greed. Yet I say to you that there is another way! Look above you! Raise your eyes to the canopy and turn your backs on the misery of the past! For today is a new day. A day to move above and beyond the tyranny of our ancestors and em-brace a higher vision – a vision in the trees, a new republic, a Republic of Trees! So climb up! Cast away the chains that weigh you to the ground! For to say we own the earth is to pretend we can put our arms around it. Yet men are small, and the world we live on is vast. We must tread lightly as the sparrow: we must live together as one. For the natural world has no borders and in it everyone is equal. We are all different and the same. We eat the food that Nature gives, we speak the language of the Air. We walk unhindered through the canopy, we live unshackled from the terror of terra firma. Join us! (No membership fees.) A free republic for a free humanity! We will not sow, nor shall we reap! We will not fear our neighbours, for our neighbours are ourselves! We will not bend, nor shall we break. For whilst one twig may sunder, a bundle will never forsake!