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Oak Tree: story -II

The story of An Oak Tree is relatively straight forward.

A father, Andy, has lost his daughter, Claire, in a road accident. Claire was hit by a car driven by a hypnotist. It seems it wasn’t truly the hypnotist’s fault as Claire was listening to music on a walkman/ipod.

Andy’s wife, Dawn, grieves for Claire but takes the attitude that one has to pull it together and soldier on, to deal with the facts; particularly to keep it together to support Marcy, Claire’s young sister.

Andy has a very different reaction to Claire’s death.

Dawn went to the mortuary. I refused. If anything, in those first few days, Claire had multiplied. […] She was indentations in time, physical depressions, imperfections on surfaces, the spaces beneath chairs, surrounding blunt pencils, inside plastic buckets.


Dawn was diminished, She clung to material evidence. To her, Claire was a hair left on a bar of soap, some flowers taped to a lamp post. She was the photograph farmed and hung above the piano. For me, these things were no more of Claire than of anyone else.


I came to the roadside. I needed a hug from my girl. I looked at the a tree. A tree by the road. I touched it. And from the spaces, the hollows, the depressions, I scooped up the properties of Claire and changed the physical substance of the tree into that of my daughter.

Just like Craig-Martin suggests.

Dawn tells Andy she is losing her husband and Andy doesn’t know what to do. He sees the sign for the hypnotist and goes to the show thinking that the hypnotist can help. Here, we also discover the hypnotist has his own reaction to Claire’s death manifesting physically in his ability to hypnotise anyone anymore, except Andy who he doesn’t recognise at first when he comes to the show.

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  • About me

    I'm a playwright and investment analyst. I have a broad range of interests: food, gardening, innovation & intellectual property, sustainability, architecture & design, writing and the arts. I sit on the board of Talawa Theatre Company and advise a CIS investment trust on socially responsible investments.

  • Recent Work

    Recent plays include, for theatre: Nakamitsu, Yellow Gentlemen, Lost in Peru, Lemon Love. For radio: Places in Between (R4), Patent Breaking Life Saving (WS).

  • Nakamitsu

  • Yellow Gentlemen