A New Musical Takes on Climate Change Through a Dystopian Lens

A New Musical Takes on Climate Change Through a Dystopian Lens

As anyone who attended Susan Alexandra's lively musical experience at New York Fashion Week earlier this year can attest, the convergence of camp, fashion and theater is a sure way to boost jaded viewer's spirits.

It was also one of many lauded performances composed and created by Mur, the nonbinary, New York-based visual and performance artist whose work has caught the eye of everyone from Nordstrom to Soho House. Their latest endeavor, a musical called TREES, is described as Greta Thunberg-meets-Sondheim due to its themes on climate change and deforestation.

Originally slated to premiere live at La MaMa in April before COVID-19 affected their plans, the musical has been trimmed down to 30 minutes and is now showing on-demand through the streaming platform Stellar. Mur, who wrote the music for this, is joined by a cast that includes Aisha Kerensa (who also starred in Susan's musical) alongside Haley Fortune, Jade Litaker and Nyah Raposo.

Though there are a few fashion references embedded throughout, including Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Parade, Prada and Muji, TREES ultimately tackles broad issues from the selfishness of man under capitalism in the art world to the destruction of Earth. It's inspired by the best-selling book The Hidden Life Of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, and gives the audience a glimpse into a dystopian future through the voices of the world's last remaining trees.

"I wrote trees in the basement of a Buddhist temple on Monroe St in Chinatown," Mur said. "I was often visited by the largest rats and cockroaches I have ever seen. At first I was scared , but overtime I realized they were there to help with the music and the message. We are all connected; We are the trees, we are the bugs, we are our neighbors. We are liberals from the north and we are conservatives from the south. We are all one big living thing and we must learn to love and respect one another. If we can learn this we have a chance of survival."

Tickets for TREES, on view through December 24, are $15 per household and is available to purchase on thewildproject.org.

Photography: David Doobinin