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How To Be A Tree

A project by: Sara Lessmann


WE RAISED £1,505

from 20 donors

This project received donations on Mon 09 Jul 2018
A new comic book & play brought off the page and onto the stage.

So what’s the story?!

“How To Be A Tree” follows the story of 5 quirky characters stuck on a planet that’s falling apart (literally). This sci-fi journey will begin on the pages of an original comic book, & finish on-stage as a part of the Camden Fringe Festival. More, here , on why the Camden Fringe is the perfect place to take a new show!

May & her best mate, John begin designing virtual reality experiences (VREs) for the public good until an unexpected highly interested party shows up on their doorstep- Miyaka Inc, an A.I company run by a “doctor” who is interested in using the VREs for something darker than entertainment or therapy. The two are thrust into a relationship with a robot, forced to question what’s real, & ultimately choose between technology, the natural world, & each other…Also, there may be love triangles that involve some technological differences.

We need stories that ask what to do when a mess stays a mess & how we can create new systems instead of trying to fix broken ones. That’s what this story is about- the future of the physical earth, the technology we’re bringing into it, & how we can care for our planet & each other.

Enough sentimentality...Who are we?

Sara (writer and producer) was raised by a breed of very sociable wolves in Northern Wisconsin, and has teamed up of two kick-ass ladies, also debatably from wolf families.  Nicole Palomba (director), Larisa Munoz (designer) and Sara Lessmann will be taking on the challenge of bringing "How To Be A Tree" to life on-stage at the Camden Fringe, while also bringing together fitness-ing, theatre, and comic books, and don't tell them the can’t because they'll send their wolf families after you. Oh…also because, in addition to Nicole and Larisa, we have a brilliant team of international creatives and collaborators (more on those wonderful humans below) who have bravely signed on to bring these bits and pieces together. If comic books, theatre, and/or fitnessing excite you, you too can be a part of our team of collaborators by donating!

*Find out more about the casts and creatives, here .

How will we do it?!

The comic book:

Well, we already have a dope original comic book prologue crafted by our illustrator, Domenic Serena or Jabberjock THAT YOU CAN’T SEE UNTIL JULY 1ST (unless you donate to get an early bird sneak peek). Upon first glance of the comic book prologue, Sara was nearly blinded...just take a look at the some of these illustrations>

The Theater-ing:

Using the comic book prologue as our starting point, Nicole Palomba will take our international team of East 15 trained actors (Luna Dai, Johannes Neubert, Anna Fontaine, Sinni Viitanen, Larisa Munoz, & Ruth Sparkes) through an intensive rehearsal process where we will engage in various potion mixings, tribal dances, & ridiculously serious actor-ing work to turn our comic book readers into audience members by bringing this comic book prologue off the page & onto the stage. Said undertakings will also happen with help from our lovely and brave dramaturg (Morgan Kopczynski).

The Fitness-ing:

Sara completed and graduated from GMB Fitness's Trainer Apprenticeship course, she is a CrossFit L1 trainer, & she holds three-sport climbing certifications in Singapore. She has 5+ years of group & individual fitness & climbing instruction, & regularly picks heavy things up from off the ground & hangs out in the squat position or upside down.

For the actor, the body is the instrument. When an actor is required to step off the pages of a comic book and onto the stage, the instrument should be finely tuned. Before every rehearsal, Sara will take the actors & creative team through a fitness regimen tweaked to meet the show requirements. An in-depth case study about the process & results will be published on the stage monkey website following the show with the hope that other actors will take away some helpful bits and pieces from the info.

We Promise we won't use your money for snacks! Here's a real breakdown of where the money will go:

If we hit our minimum of £1100

-£800: For a show to get off the floor, we need floor space. This amount will go towards reserving and securing space for rehearsing the show.

-£300 :Will go towards a stipend to hire our wonderful stage manager (Stephanie Watson-also from East 15) for the production.

If we hit our stretch goal of £3,000:

- £100 of this residual money will be set aside for props & costumes, but we'll be primarily seeking out re-used and recycled set and costume pieces.

-This is a dream project that I cannot believe I have the opportunity to undertake with such dreamy people who I know will put their hearts into this project. I also have a dream of being able to pay artists b/c of the time and resources I know they're putting in. Whatever remainder we raise will go directly towards paying a working fee to the actors, director, & designer who are current or newly graduated students from East 15.

*OH! We can also give you sweeter prize swag! If we hit £3000, we’ll buy those who have donated £150 or more a sweet t-shirt with a picture from The How To Be A Tree Comic on the front. For those who have donated £200 or more, we can hook you up with a t-shirt and we'll send you the printed version of the comic prologue.

*If you're interested in donating and also financial transperancy, I'm happy to send a break down of costs and financials if requested.

Sweet swag given in gratitude:

In addition to us being ridiculously, incredibly, so unbelievably-on-the-verge-of-tears-grateful, here's how we'll say thank you for your donations!


A personal shout out on all of our social medias


* All of the above

*A sweet How To Be A Tree sticker with the below image from the comic book prologue on it. >


*All of the Above

*A shout out in our play program

*Early access to the web-based version of the comic book prologue scheduled for release to the masses on July 1st.


*All of the above

*A four line "poem" about you that may or may not rhyme written by the playwright.

* A poster signed by the cast and creative team (If you live in The States and fall into this category, posters will be sent out in September)


*all of the above

*2 complimentary tickets for the August Show.

Other ways you can help bring these new comic book heroes to life on stage:

-Come see the show and share this project with anyone you think would support us. Tell every one you know: via social media, email, telephone, in a chat over the fence, on a piece of paper hidden in your significant other's birthday cake, carved on the surface of almond in lettering that only a mouse can read (don't worry the showing for mice will be on a different day), etc.

-Follow our journey on our Facebook or our website .