theLASTree is a lyrical family-friendly puppet show featuring seven vignettes with two main characters, telling the story of the environment in the time of climate change.
One character is Mother Nature, the storyteller, who asks for help as she explains why she is afraid of the human-caused climate crisis: the consequences of deforestation, pollution and plastic waste, and the suffering of her ecosystems. In the end, she encourages the audience to engage in three fundamental sustainable practices: reduce, reuse, and recycle to protect the air, water, land, and all living creatures.
The other character, the Last Tree, is an ancient tree, fed up with humans but who refuses to die.
After its premier in 2018, theLASTree is back, and this time at 3 Dots.
75% of paper, plastic, textiles, and wood used for this production are made from recycle materials; and no puppet has been hurt during this production.
I have been concerned about climate change for the last 40 years although we didn’t have back then the terms we use now. Since then, I have been a defender of our environment and everything in it. I started back in high school; I entered a drawing called “the Last Tree” into an art competition held across all the high schools in Mexico City without expectations to win and I won first price. That award gave me the drive to continue creating art that speaks to and exposes the damage and consequences of deforestation and pollution of the air, land, and water. Forty years later, from that drawing and my role as an artist translating scientific knowledge led, in the fall of 2018, to theLASTree: A Puppet Tale from Nature About Loss, Hope and Us. Its visual lyrism is the result of the combination of interdisciplinary puppetry, movement, sound, and music. In 2021, I created and produced a miniature version, called theLASTree Toy Puppet Theatre, also constructed with recycled materials.
Now I am happy to share with you my State College community the original production as an art exhibit at 3Dots Gallery and live perfornces of theLASTree Toy Puppet Theatre. Hopefuly this exhibit led to finding local communities and others across the district, the state and beyond to spread the seed. After all, this is our planet, our home, the only one we have.
Why puppetry? Well, puppetry consolidates the diverse aspects of my artistic work; it gives me an active voice, a visibility, an identity. I believe that puppetry transcends culture and language and gets at the essential, our core, our humanity. Just as puppets are used as part of medical healing, they can bridge seemingly insurmountable gaps between people. Puppetry has the unique ability to mesmerize and allure an audience in a distinct way. Even when the narrative of the story is unfamiliar, the puppet’s vitality makes it less threatening. Puppets can generate a safe playground for both the puppeteer and the audience, to be more tolerant and open to that which is different, to the eerie, the weird and the odd. In that way, puppetry allows us to explore new, unfamiliar, even uncomfortable realms.
Learn more at laurencioruiz.com