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By March 7, 20102 Comments

Tree Boy tells a deceptively simple story: set in 1960’s South Africa, an eleven year old boy’s mother dies, his father is unable to cope with the loss and turns to alcohol, they move from a farming area to an industrial town and hope is born again through the example of the life cycle of trees. Voila! But the script is something of a banyan tree, spreading its branches into related territory and sending its many roots into the earth.

Within a simple narrative frame, the piece evokes the nature of a journey; journey through time, in a time, through relationships, identity, age, growth, loss and healing.

In a dreamscape of shadows, reflections, light and shade, the story is told through layers: images are conjured, developed, reduced; deep emotions are played out and the tragi-comedy ends on a sombre note of contained anticipation of joy.
Arthur Sprout takes up a position as postman in ”˜Rykdom’ ”“ a town located between fact and fantasy, an industrial hub, where man and nature are at odds and where monstrous constructs and gases are fast overpowering the population ”“ and as he retreats further into the paralysis of liquor and memory, young Benjamin Sprout is left alone.

The boy seeks solace in an over-grown forest on the fringes of the town. It is in this forest where Ben discovers a mystical old man: the veiled, compulsive gardener named Archibald Drupe. With Drupe, Ben discovers a new world: one in which story and hope sow revolutionary seeds of change in the boy. This change will have a profound effect on the corrupt town and its people and, more crucially, on the relationship between young Ben and his estranged father.


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