The Singing, Ringing Tree

"There are only two or three human stories and they go on repeating themselves
as if they had never happened before; like larks in the country they have been
singing the same five notes for thousands of years."
-Willa Cather

Click on links to view video clips.
The Singing, Ringing Tree is an interactive play in which audience members play all 12 characters. The protagonist is a spoiled Spanish princess who is transformed by the power of love. In turn, the princess is visited by the world's greatest musician, athlete, and chef, and is thoroughly unimpressed by their attempts to awe her with their talents. She is equally unmoved by the three gentlemen who travel from afar bearing fine and unusual presents. Later, this malcontent sends the prince, whose gift is his heart, on a dangerous quest for the singing, ringing tree. From there a fox, fish, and fierce monster get in on the act until the end when, in the words of the Duchess from Alice in Wonderland: "'tis love, 'tis love that makes the world go round."

The production is structured to allow for and encourage the uniqueness of each participant's imagination. The casting process is designed to be part of the production, and no prior rehearsal is required. The roles are made more or less challenging depending on the age and ability of the individual.

This performance features a collection of large papier-mache masks created by award-winning artist, Ruth Fledermaus. Besides providing children (and adults) the opportunity to act onstage, the performance incorporates themes of kindness, loyalty, respect, and the ability of all people to change. This production satisfies curriculum standards in the areas of literature, language arts, and theater arts. It is also useful in augmenting anti-bullying initiatives. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Running time: approx. 1 hour

Upon request, The Singing, Ringing Tree can be customized to link with a museum's collections or current exhibition, or a library's summer reading theme. Suggestions for follow-up activities are available for schools.

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"Your dynamic interactive style of making the art historical connection to one of the museum's most famous paintings made your performance a unique and truly exciting experience for all."
Adina Sabghir, former Manager of Youth & Family Learning
Museum of Fine Arts
Boston, MA

"Whatever the grade level (K-8), the children all had the same reaction; you will be one of their special remembrances of the Cummings School throughout their lives. The interactive nature of the show, allowing a dozen of the children to appear onstage with you and act out the parts and using the audience to be your sound effects, engaged the children as no other show has done. You had the ability to tailor the show for your particular audience and made sure each performance was different but equally special. Even a crusty old veteran such as I was enthralled."
David Gilberti, retired Principal
Cummings Elementary School
Somerville, MA

"The audience was delighted by the impressive backdrop and papier-mache masks and captivated by the enchanting story of The Singing, Ringing Tree. In my mind, however, the most memorable aspect of the event was your amazing ability to think on your feet as you guided the young performers acting out the tale. Your sensitivity to the ages and abilities of the youths you select is a tribute to your skill and professionalism."
Alanna Almstead, Youth Services Coordinator
Kinderhook Memorial Library
Kinderhook, NY


"Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream."
-Mark Twain