My Grandfather was a Cherry TreeShadow puppet performance, length 0 min

My Grandfather was a Cherry Tree, Illustration Tina Dobrajc
“When I was four years old I had four grandparents: two city grandparents and two country grandparents.” This is how the story, narrated by now grown-up Tonino, begins. Old photos bring memories and take us back in time to his childhood. Memories of the most beautiful summers spent with his peculiar grandfather who liked to climb trees, make friends with ducks, and swim in the river in his underwear. The only witness of their deep connection was a cherry tree, which has a special place in this family’s story. The cherry tree was planted when Tonino’s mother was born. His grandfather saved the tree from winter frost and kept it warm all night long by the fire. As the tree grows, the grandfather teaches Tonino about life. Its branches hide the memories of hot summer nights that they spent together, its autumn leaves rustle with the memories of grandmother's illness and death, while spring buds announce new life...
When grandfather is gone as well, the city officials decide to chop down the tree because it obstructs the construction of a new road. Will Tonino allow them to destroy something so magnificent that it goes beyond one human life and protects the memories of his grandparents and his mother’s childhood? “For as long as we love somebody, they don’t die,” were grandfather’s words that Tonino has never forgotten. For as long as the cherry tree stands there, Tonino will feel his grandfather's presence.

It is through the deep connection of the boy and his peculiar grandfather who can hear the tree breathing that this story about life and death comes to life before us in colours and shadows. Its creator, one of the most famous Italian writers, Angela Nanetti, has written over thirty stories and novels and was awarded three Andersen Awards.

Director Fabrizio Montecchi was born in 1960 in Italy where he studied scenography and architecture. During his architecture study in Venice, he joined the Teatro Gioco Vita theatre company from Piacenza, of which he is the artistic director today. He is now one of the greatest directors of shadow puppet theatre in the world. As a director and set designer, he worked with a number of important theatres in Italy (La Scala Milan, La Fenice Venice, the Opera House in Rome, the Verona Arena) and around the globe. His performances brought him a series of awards and are often hosted by renowned international festivals. In 2014, at the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre, he directed a successful performance created by Wolf Erlbruch entitled Duck, Death and the Tulip, which received twelve awards all around the world, while in 2017 he directed the performance Virginja Wolf. Montecchi lectures at numerous workshops and international theatre schools.

Premiere: May 2021, the Grand Stage of the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre


Author: Angela Nanetti
Directed by: Frabrizio Montecchi