British/American duo entertains with puppetry
Families can enjoy a fun day at the theater Sunday when the “Man Who Planted Trees” returns to the Lutcher Theater. The tale from the 50s was adapted for the stage by Richard Medrington and performed by puppets. “It’s a classic parable about life,” said Medrington. “It’s about planting trees, but it’s more than that. Its how one man can make a difference by doing small things. It won’t necessarily make you rich or famous, but you can really change the part of the world you live in.”
Medrington is English but has lived in Scotland for 20 years. Rick Conte, Medrington’s partner and the other actor/puppeteer is from Georgia, but has lived in Scotland a little bit longer than that. “He takes on a very important character, the part of Dog. He’s a very central character.” The third person in Puppet State is Medrington’s wife, Elspeth Murray.
Medrington said the show has a very American/British feel to it. “The humor translates well, it works well in Britain and it works just as well in America.”
An agent from Austin saw “The Man Who Planted Trees” in Edinburgh and asked if they would be interested in bringing it to America.
The show is about a shepherd and his dog who plants a forest one acorn at a time. Dog is the narrator of the story and one of the most lovable characters. Medrington said it was important to tell the story, but it also had to be entertaining and Dog fills that requirement
The production remains intimate by only selling 250 seats to each show. It incorporates more of the senses than most theatrical productions. You will be able to smell the lavender in the fields and feel the mist in the air.
After each of the Sunday performances attendees will be invited to a “Tree Party” which will take place immediately following the show. Guests will meet the cast, enjoy refreshments and receive “Plant an Oak Tree” kits donated by Shangri-La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center. Each kit will include a pot, soil, several acorns and instructions for planting. The group who brings the most members to each of the Sunday performances will receive a tree to plant at the location of their choice.
Performances are at 2 and 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 30, at the Lutcher Theater. Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased now at www.Lutcher.org or 409-886-5535. The show will also be presented at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m., Monday, Oct. 1, primarily for school groups, although these performances are also available to the public. The show is suitable for adults and children age 7 and up.
Rick Conte (left) portrays Dog in the Puppet Nation production of “The Man Who Plants Trees” with actor/puppeteer partner Richard Medrington (right).