Odyssey Theatre

Odyssey Theatre: Spreading Roots Music, Movement, Mask: A song for the trees

The next phase of creating Spreading Roots involved community workshops to incorporate music and dance into the performance, as well as introducing the use of mask. Inspired by the stories about trees that she had collected from the neighbourhoods that she had visited, as well as her own experiences living and travelling in different parts of the world, South African-born Jacqui du Toit wrote the lyrics for Tree of Life. She wanted the song to be simultaneously local and global:

A home for creatures of forest,
A nest for the birds of the air
Small bushes to mighty sequoias
Earth’s living things to share

What would we see?
How could we breathe?
Where would we be without trees?

The task for composer and music educator Venessa Lachance was to take this paean to trees and set it to music that is uplifting and celebratory, while both satisfying for an accomplished singer and simple enough for a novice. Based on the reception the song has received from workshop participants, it’s fair to say that she succeeded!

Workshop participants ranged from local children to members of seniors choirs to community conservation volunteers. Venessa’s recording of her composition, with its catchy melody, was immediately engaging with the participants.

 The timbers we must depend on,
The branches, the roots and the leaves,
Anchor the ground that we stand on,
Give us the air that we breathe.

What would we see?
How could we be?
How could we breathe without trees?

 Venessa, in turn, has drawn great inspiration from the volunteer performers “It is always a great pleasure to work with people from the community; it makes me see our region in different ways and make me love it more and more.”

When no more stands of maple,
Of oak, of pine may live,
Will clearcut lands be able,
The gift of life to give?

What would we see?
How could we be?
How could we live without trees?

How indeed?



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