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Study Guide | Theater

TREE/BOOM/UMTHI

Story
TREE/BOOM/UMTHI 

South African physical-theater company Magnet Theatre uses image, song, and the human body to tell the story of a human relationship with a tree and the changing of the seasons. This delicate, inventive work intended especially for young children of every ability is performed in three different languages, and includes a post-show audience participation session.


 

Play-By-Play

The lights dim and four performers come out and set up the stage, spreading leaves all around the corners of the stage floor. They are going to tell us a story about a tree. They will speak and sing songs in three different languages: English, and two South African languages—Afrikaans and Xhosa.

The play begins. A girl is very hungry. She wishes she could eat a peach, but she only has a peach seed. Wait! What if she plants the peach seed? She puts the peach seed into the ground, covers it with soil, and pats it down. Then she waters it.

The seed begins to grow into a plant. But the plant needs something else to grow—fertilizer! The girl shovels fertilizer onto the plant and the plant grows and grows until it becomes a tree.

The girl wakes up. It is spring! She looks at her peach tree and sees a beautiful flower and a peach! But it is green.

The girl is hungry. She wants to eat the peach even though it’s green. The tree tells her “Not yet, not yet! Too soon, too soon.” It isn’t harvest time, yet. But the girl doesn’t listen. She picks the peach and takes a bite. Yuck! The peach isn’t ripe so it tastes very sour.

The weather gets warmer and the leaves get bigger. It is summer! The animals come to visit. The elephant comes to scratch his back against the tree trunk. The giraffe munches on the tree’s leaves. The monkey comes for the cool shade. The birds come to lay their eggs.

But trouble also comes. It’s a snake and it’s hungry for tasty bird eggs. Thank goodness the tree and the animals protect the eggs until the birds return.

The warm summer weather makes the peaches on the tree ripe and juicy. Time to harvest and eat! Delicious!

The winds start to blow the colored leaves around and the weather gets cooler. It is now autumn.

The daytime sky is bright blue. At night the stars and the moon rest high above in the dark winter sky. The tree goes into a long winter sleep. Some branches from the tree can be used to build a fire and stay warm.

The spring returns and the girl plants another seed. What do you think happens next?

“BAM Education study guides are supported by the Frederick Loewe Foundation.”