And the Tree Was Happy

Where the Sidewalk Ends is not for kids: The production by Boxcar Theatre, adapted for the stage by founding member Sarah Savage, is billed as a “contemporary retelling” of Shel Silverstein classics for adults who read them as children. The plot centers on the lifetime of a character named Shel, who wanders the world, searching for meaning and witnessing wondrous things — the structure is based on the holiest of holies, The Giving Tree, and the too-caring Tree is featured prominently in the show. Maybe we’ll get some answers, because The Giving Tree could certainly use some. Namely: What did the boy do in the city when he sold Tree’s apples? Did he see a prostitute? Where did he go on that boat, anyway? And what did he do with his wife and kids?

Sidewalk’s staging, too, looks to be eye-opening, as almost everything — from the stage to the trash pile of beloved Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout (who would not take the garbage out) — is white, outlined in black, like Silverstein’s drawings. Puppets are used, bellbottoms are worn (Shel is of the 1970s), and Tree’s branch-arms drift over the stage.
Thursdays-Saturdays. Starts: Feb. 26. Continues through March 27, 2009

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