A heartwarming environmental tale brought to life by playful puppetry, The Man Who Planted Trees was a great success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and is soon coming to Penang. This multi-award winning adaptation by the Puppet State Theatre Company of French author Jean Giono’s classic 1953 allegorical tale is aimed  at adults and children alike, combining comedy and puppetry with masterful storytelling.

The story is about one shepherd’s long and successful single-handed effort to re-forest a desolate valley in the foothills of the Alps in the early twentieth century, planting 100 trees each morning and a further 100 every afternoon. The narrator, Jean, visits the shepherd over the following forty years, reporting on the varieties of trees, birds, wildlife and other vegetation that is now thriving in an oasis of biodiversity. The star of the show is “Dog” who is the comic relief whenever the play touches on serious themes such as war, climate change, politics and the transience of life. 

All of the puppets are deftly manipulated, with subtle gestures that make the characters eminently believable. The stage set is uses pastoral music and gentle audience interaction to communicate an idyllic impression of the 1920s in rural France. The end result is a thought-provoking, touching piece of theatre which will leave audience members young and old with smiles on their faces.

The Man Who Planted Trees will be performed on Thursday 27th September at 10am, and on Friday 28th at 10am and 7.30pm, in Auditorium A at Komtar. Tickets cost RM 60 (or RM 75 for VIPs). You can buy tickets here and you can watch a video trailer for the production here