A father loses his daughter in a car accident. The man who killed the girl is a stage hypnotist. Since the accident, he’s lost the ability to make a convincing suggestion. His act is a disaster. He’s a drowning man. For him, everything now is exactly what it is. For the first time since the accident, these two men meet.
an oak tree is a two-hander. The Hypnotist is played by Dave Clarke. The Father, however, will be played by a different actor at each performance. That second actor, male or female, will walk on stage having neither seen nor read a word of the play they’re in until they’re in it. Like the Father’s transformation of the tree, this is another act of projection: the projection of a performance given from one actor to another, from a hypnotist to their subject, from the audience onto a person.
an oak tree weaves themes of human suggestibility, art and loss through a vivid and absurdly comic narrative that swoops between a tree by a road and the stage of a pub. It is a bold experiment in theatre form, but an experiment housed within a powerful and accessible story. The device of the second actor supports that story but also provides a startling image of someone discovering their own meaning from moment to moment.
For the Fringe Festival run, the Father will be played by some of Edmonton’s leading actors, as well as by specially invited guests. Any actors who have already read or even seen the play will be disqualified from performing in it. This is an exploration of the moment of discovery as well as in the power of suggestion.
an oak tree contains that breathless balance of accessible narrative, complex idea, rich theatricality and broad humor which characterizes Tim Crouch’s work. It is a remarkable play that expands the ideas of performance and story-telling explored in Tim’s 2003 hit, my arm.
Performed by: Dave Clarke, joined by a series of guest actors
Directed by: David Cheoros
Stage Managed by: Irene Kunda
Graphic Design: P40 Communications