“Wishtree” The Wish for Acceptance

The wishing tree “Red” with all the ribbons of the neighbors tied on it in hopes their wishes come true.
The wishing tree “Red” with all the ribbons of the neighbors tied on it in hopes their wishes come true.
Saige Adair
Stephen played by Ryder Cunningham adding his wish to the wishing tree.

On Nov. 16 to Nov. 19, State High Thespians performed their fall show “Wishtree”. Every year, the people of the neighborhood would make a wish and then tie ribbons on the tree on wishing day in hopes they would come true. Every year the tree would patiently listen but to his disappointment he could never make the wishes come true. This year “Red” wanted to grant Samar’s wish by recruiting the help of the neighborhood animals to bring her and her neighbor Stephen together. 

The red oak tree ”Red” was played by Luke Marcinkevage who sat in the tree and voiced all of Red’s monologues. The animals of the neighborhood were portrayed through puppets and actors who puppeteered them. 

Production stage manager and sophomore Klara Gawlowicz gave insight on how having the puppets affected the tech crews.

“Being production stage manager, I heard all the actors into making the right decisions and kinda assist the director and also I talk to all the different crew,” Gawlowicz said.

Actors puppeteering the neighborhood animals, as they try and help Samar to make a friend.

“The puppets were not totally different with stage managing than other shows but it was harder because it was more to worry about. Like it was another crew to worry about, but other than that it was mostly the same. I do like the puppets. I think it’s pretty cool and different compared to other shows we did,” she added.

For the actors, the puppets were a new aspect of theater to try. Junior Audrey Shaner, who puppeteered a mother possum named Hairy Spiders, enjoyed the puppets.

“I loved the puppets. I was so attached to mine, the amount of times I missed a cue because I was hugging my puppet in the corner, it’s the best,” Shaner said. 

Other actors shared Shaner’s enthusiasm for the inclusion of puppets into the show.

“They were so cute, I loved them. It required a lot less acting from us and moving around so it was just like all of our focus was entirely on the puppets and it felt like a little bit more of the pressure was lifted when having to perform,” sophomore Hannah Smith, who puppeteered a baby skunk named Rose Petal, said.

While the puppeteered animals and “Red” devised a plan to make Samar feel more a part of the community, Francesca (Hannah Bloom) who was the owner of the tree, decided it was time to cut it down, erasing the wishes and the history of the tree. 

“For me, I didn’t have to puppeteer myself, but my character, Francesca, had two cats that she walked around with the whole time. So it very much was a partnership with the puppeteers, so they knew when I was going to pick them up or when I had to chase them. It was a big partnership between the human and puppeteers to make sure it looked smooth and all worked together,” senior and Thespians Troupe 5029 president Hannah Bloom said.

With Red feeling that his end was near, he decided to break one of the main rules between the animals and trees and talked to Samar and Stephen in hopes of making them better friends and completing Samar’s wish. To Red’s satisfaction it worked, with the experience of a tree talking bonding Stephen and Samar. It helped Samar feel more comfortable and loved in her new neighborhood.

As the story progresses, Samar and Stephen become good friends, yet Samar’s family still isn’t welcomed by most of the neighborhood. “Leave”  is carved into the wishing tree, as well as Stephen’s parents not approving of his friendship with Samar.

“The play is definitely about general acceptance and it’s definitely more for kids and in a way kids can understand it, like accepting people and sometimes you know even if your parents don’t accept people you still can,” Shaner said. 

By the end of the play, Samar and Stephen manage to save the tree while Stephen also finds a way to get the neighborhood to accept Samar and her family, showing how vastly important love and acceptance can be.

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