Fallen Tree

Written & Directed by Nathan Sibthorpe

photo by David Vespertine

photo by David Vespertine

Fallen tree, fallen tree, the greatest show you'll never see...

A tree has fallen. A child has died. As a small village reels from tragedy, voices begin to question. Was foul play involved? Is something more sinister going on in the forest?

Fallen Tree is a wildly theatrical story, told by a cast of eleven for one performance only. What makes the production unique, is that for the duration of its performance, all audience members are locked outside of the theatre. Before performing, there had been no rehearsals - performers only received their page of the script and kept it with them onstage. 

Creative Rationale

Let me be upfront: this is the wankiest show I have ever made. I was a student, and it had to happen while I could still get away with it. I wanted to experiment with a few different ideas. At its core, it was about how much of an effect a work can have without people actually having seen it. How outside forces (marketing, word of mouth) can give you an impression of something, or even become the dominant form of something (when hype outlives the experience). For example, while Wicked is in town, there are a number of people who don't see the show but still have a good idea of what they think it is. It is in the community, it leaves an impression, and it has an essence that is entirely outside of the theatre.

This show was presented in a festival context, so an audience was already there - being asked to sit and wait in the foyer between two other shows. They had an experience of this show, but the experience was of exclusion. There was a lot of talk brewing around the work, so people would hear bits and pieces. Performers would later come out and share little bits. Eventually photos would surface. 

I also wanted to play with how fleeting and ephemeral I could make a work be. The script never existed all together, nobody ever read more than their own page, and even in the room, nobody quite heard every line while they were in character. But I put a lot of work into the script, and the story itself was intriguing. The work existed only in the one locked room for a brief moment. A thing of value was created between people, but all the while everyone knew how temporary it was. I promised never to stage the show again.

Though sometimes I get tempted...

Marketing for Fallen Tree

Marketing for Fallen Tree

Umm... Fallen Tree? What the fuck?
— Audience Feedback on Foyer Blackboard
Nathan, we need to talk... People, they just... People didn’t like it.
— Artistic Director of Vena Cava Productions

Production Details

Presented by Vena Cava Productions at Capillaries Festival 2011.

Performed by:
Nathan Sibthorpe, Kristen Trollope, Jake Shavikin, Essie O’Shaughnessy, Sam Sheldon, Dan Gough, Emily Clark, Eloise Maree, Laura Duncan, David Vespertine, Christine Hartley.

Lighting Design by Christine Hartley
Sound Design by Nathan Sibthorpe
Photos by David Vespertine