Seeing Green

Act 1, Scene 1

(A young girl sits on a brown, rectangular sofa in a dimly lit psychologist’s office She has blond hair and pale skin. She is in the psychologist’s office because she has delusions. The psychologist, holding a note pad and pen, sits across from her on a grey plastic chair. It is four o’clock in the afternoon, yet the only light comes from a closed window that shows just a bit of the treeless world outside. The year is 2026 and the world is in a crisis with its natural resources.)

Marigold

The plants are coming alive, Doctor! Did you see that holly fern move?

Dr. Maxwells

That fern did not move, Miss Porthos. Now on to why you are in my office. So how was your week? Did you see anything unusual? Did you see any dancing chocolate bars in your head, like you did last week?

Marigold

Those dancing chocolate bars were not in my head. Oh no! The fern is coming closer!

Dr. Maxwells

No, not your delusion again.

(Dr. Maxwells sighs as he scribbles something down in his note pad.)

Marigold

Now the fern’s multiplying!! Help!

Dr. Maxwells

Look, Miss Porthos, your mother wants me to do an analysis of you. I’m just going to have to tell her that you continue to let your imagination run wild. I know she’s going to be disappointed in you.

(Dr. Maxwells looks down.)

Dr. Maxwells

There is only so much we can do.

Marigold

The plants are coming closer! They’re coming to get me!

Dr. Maxwells

Calm down Marigold! Nothing’s going to happen.

Marigold

No, no it’s coming! They’re coming! Just like in the dream I had last night! I was in a strange place, like your dark office. I was with a strange person, like you. Then suddenly all these plants started to come alive! My dream is coming true! Hide me, they’re coming closer!

Dr. Maxwells

Look Miss Porthos, this is a classic case of hallucination. You know you had many of those.

Marigold

No, no, no. It’s my imagination like it may have been before. I see the plants. Ferns, cactuses, venus fly traps, even innocent roses. They want me! Now they are walking over to me, using their roots as feet! The flowers are growing eyes on their petals now! No now they have mouths! They’re calling out to me!

Dr. Maxwells

What are they saying?

Marigold

They’re saying… they’re saying that they are going to hurt me.

Dr. Maxwells

Interesting.

Marigold

No, no! They’re now saying that I must do what they want. No! Make the voices stop!

(Dr. Maxwells holds up a black and white picture of a tree.)

Dr. Maxwells

What do you see now?

Marigold

I see a tree.

Dr. Maxwells

Very good.

Marigold

I see a giant tree with hundreds of branches with sharp edges and rough leaves. It’s out to get me! It’s coming Doctor! Get it away from me!

(Marigold hides under the sofa.)

Dr. Maxwells

You are just imagining these plants.

Marigold

I’m not imagining these horrid creatures! They’re getting closer!

Dr. Maxwells

They’re not coming…

(Marigold sees Dr. Maxwells turns into a giant, roaring tree. His bark splits into two halves, like lips. They seem to be smiling and laughing away. His branches reach for Marigold. She runs away screaming, in horror.)

Dr. Maxwells

Marigold, where are you going? Come back!



Act 1, Scene 2

(It is a week after Marigold’s last psychologist’s appointment. She is at school, in her social studies room. Her teacher, Ms. Brock, has just assigned the class an essay about the Civil War. Marigold is writing fast on a piece of paper.)

Ms. Brock

How is this Civil War assignment going? Good?

(Marigold looks up from her paper and nods her head.)

Ms. Brock

Does anybody have any questions?

(Marigold thinks about this for a minute than raises her hand. Ms. Brock walks over to her.)

Ms. Brock

Do you need any help?

Marigold

I have a question. In our essays, can we write about conflicts faced by both the Union and the Confederates, or should we only write about one side?

Ms. Brock

I would like you to just focus on writing about one side, Marigold.

Marigold

And do we have to use pen on the essay or can we use pencil?

Ms. Brock

You could use whatever you want.

(Ms. Brock walks away.)

(As Marigold is writing she sees her pencil transform into a tiny tree. It turns brown and rough like bark and it starts to grow leaves. Engraved on it is “we need you’re help, we are dying.” Marigold’s eyes widen.)

Marigold

Ms. Brock! Ms. Brock!

Ms. Brock

Another question, Marigold?

(Ms. Brock walks over to Marigold.)

Marigold

My p…p…pencil! It turned into a tree!

Ms. Brock

Lower your voice, Marigold. And your pencil turned into a tree? That is crazy. You’re holding a pencil in your hand, it’s not a tree.

Marigold

Look at it! My pencil is a mini tree!

Ms. Brock

Marigold, you are causing way too many distractions. Go to the Principal’s Office, now!

Marigold

But, Ms. Brock! I’m not making this transformation up!

Ms. Brock

I said go to the Principal’s Office, now!

(Marigold runs out of her classroom, crying. She goes down the school hallway to the Principal’s office.)


Act 1, Scene 3

(Marigold comes home. She walks into the kitchen to get a snack. Her mom is there, waiting for Marigold.)

Marigold

Oh, hey Mom you scared me. You’re home from work early.

Mrs. Porthos

They gave me a half-day. I came home just in time to hear a message from your Principal. Marigold, why did you cause so many distractions in class today?

Marigold

My pencil turned into a tree, Mom! How was I supposed to act? Excited?

Mrs. Porthos

I can’t take it anymore. First you think Dr. Maxwells is a tree, and now your pencil? I can’t take it anymore! It’s too much on me, a single mom. I used to enjoy your creativity, but now I despise it!

(Marigold starts to cry.)

Marigold

I’m not imagining these plants, Mom! If I could control it I would stop it! Something is going on with the trees and they need something from me. It’s not my imagination! And at least I have an imagination, unlike someone!

Mrs. Porthos

That’s it. You’re grounded! Two weeks, no TV, no Internet, and no going out except for appointments and school.

Marigold

Mom! It’s not me imagining these trees, they’re real!

Mrs. Porthos

I said you’re grounded. Up to your room now, young lady!

(Marigold runs up the stairs to her room. She slams the door and freezes. Sitting on her bed is a plumped tree with big branches and big, bright green leaves. It has two slits in its bark that work as lips.)

Marigold

Mom! Mom! There’s a tree in my bedroom! Moooom!

Old Oak

Shhhhhhh! Be quiet! I can’t be seen!

Marigold

What are you doing in my room, you filthy, horrid plant that only takes up space!

Old Oak

I come in peace. My name is Old Oak. Have you noticed any trees coming alive in people you know and objects you use?

Marigold

Yes! That was you? I hate you!

(Marigold pounces on the tree. The tree pushes her off.)

Marigold

You got me detention! And now everybody thinks I am delusional!

Old Oak

Stop with the violence, I said I come in peace! Like I was saying, we trees need your help! We are dying. The government has cut down more than two thirds of our population to make room for cities.

Marigold

Whatever. Why do your problems concern me? I don’t care about any stupid trees.

Old Oak

You will soon care about us trees. You’ll care when you stop breathing because there’s no oxygen left in the world because all the trees are extinct.

Marigold

That will never happen. The government set up oxygen tanks in each neighborhood, so we will never run out of air.

Old Oak

Those tanks will run out soon. They simply are just meant to give off oxygen for a short time. Trees will never stop giving off oxygen, so long as we want to live.

Marigold

Why are you bothering me? Why do I have to be the one who saves everything?

Old Oak

Us trees are not allowed to communicate with others unless they’re a tree or come from a tree or they are a member of the wild animal kingdom. For this job we need a human, and you’re the only human we could communicate with.

Marigold

(Says sarcastically.) Why? Because I’m part tree?

Old Oak

Yes, exactly. You’re grandmother was a tree.

Marigold

What?

Old Oak

Ummm. Let’s just say that your grandma was what we call an experimental tree. We wanted to see if we could make trees into humans so we had her eat a strand of human hair and what do you know? Just to let you know this practice has been banned by the tree officials. Anyway, she turned into a 29-year-old woman. She was supposed to come back to her roots and transform back into a tree immediately. But let’s just say she met your grandfather and fell in love and mated and got pregnant…

Marigold

Okay, enough information. And what are you talking about? My grandmother lives in a beach side condo in Florida.

Old Oak

I’m talking about your paternal grandmother.

Marigold

From my Dad? He’s dead.

Old Oak

Yes, we’re aware of that but that has nothing do to do with why I’m in your house right now.

Marigold

Wait- how do you tree things communicate? And how’d you get up to my room?

Old Oak

We send our thoughts to each other to communicate. I thought really hard about being in your room. Then I found myself here, sitting on your bed.

Marigold

How do you get supplies you want? Like when you had my grandmother eat that strand of human hair that she took to transform into a tree? How did you get it for her?

Old Oak

We ask other animals to get stuff for us. To get a piece of hair for your grandma, we asked a bird to swoop down and pull a strand off from a lady. The animal kingdom and the plant community- we all work as one.

Marigold

I’m not saying I’m going to do it- but what is my mission?

Old Oak

Like I was saying, the trees need your help. In order to save us, we need you to stop the humans from cutting down more trees. The trees have one important power in their life, and that is Mr. Douglass Birch. He is like the king of the tree world. If he suffers, all of us suffer. If he gets cut down, we all die alongside him. He is located in Manau, Brazil, which is in the middle of the Amazon Forest. Unfortunately, the government run tree cutters are now cutting down trees in Manau. We need you to tie yourself to Mr. Birch and stop the tree cutters from cutting them down.

Marigold

And how do you expect me, a twelve- year- old girl, to stop the big tree cutters? It’s impossible!

Old Oak

Marigold, never believe that anything is impossible. And age is just a number. Sure it may represent how many years you lived but it does not represent how wise you are! When you feel this way, Marigold, remember this: the power to change is not affected by numbers but by your dedication to make a difference.

Marigold

Wow, trees are good for more than just taking up space. They’re good motivational speakers!

Old Oak

Yes, but we need to get started if you are going to save the trees. You can find the Tree King because he is the biggest tree in Manau. He has reddish bark and lime green leaves. He also has two slits in his bark, shaped like a crown.

Marigold

Okay. When should I go?

Old Oak

Now, Marigold! You have to get to Tree King before the tree cutters get to them. Catch the quickest flight there or find any way but just get to him! And remember, Marigold, the world is counting on you.

(Old Oak disappears.)



Act 1, Scene 4

(Marigold has just snuck out of her house. She is on a bus that is heading to the Nevada National Airport. She hopes to catch a flight to Manau, Brazil where Old Oak told her the tree cutters are located. Everyone on the bus is an adult. It is 6:30 p.m..)

Bus Driver

We’re here, Nevada National Airport. Watch yourself getting off.

(Marigold shuffles off the bus. People are pushing there way off, grabbing their luggage all around Marigold. She gets off the bus and walks into the airport. Security guards and travelers fill the area. Marigolds heads to a counter that is labeled ticket buying. It is empty so she goes right up to the man behind the counter. His name tag reads Joseph.)

Joseph

How may I help you, young lady?

Marigold

I need a ticket to Manau, Brazil.

Joseph

I’ll need to see your parents, Miss.

Marigold

There not here, sir. I’m traveling myself.

Joseph

(Laughs.) How old are you?

Marigold

I’m twelve.

Joseph

You are aware that you have to be eighteen to buy a plane ticket.

Marigold

Why? Why does age matter? It doesn’t represent anything.

Joseph

Security!

(Two men with lots of big muscles come to the counter. They hold Marigold by her arms and drag her out of the airport while many people watch. Once they’re outside they throw Marigold down on the hard, cold concrete. Marigold screams after them.)

Marigold

How dare you do that to me! I may be twelve but I have just as much dignity as you!

(A huge harpy eagle swoops down in front of Marigold. It is about four feet tall and has shiny black feathers. It has big eyes and a black beak. Frightened, Marigold moves back a few inches.)

Harper

Don’t go Marigold. I’m not here to scare you. My name’s Harper, the harpy eagle messenger of the animal kingdom.

Marigold

H… h…how do you know who I am?

Harper

I’m friends with Old Oak, the tree who talked to you. He asked me to watch over you on your mission to the Amazon. I saw that you were having trouble getting on a plane, so I thought I’d give you a lift. Get on my wings, Marigold.

Marigold

No way! I can’t trust you, a stranger.

Harper

Do you want to save the trees?

Marigold

Yes.

Harper

No, you don’t. If you did care about saving the trees, you’d get on me, your only way to get to the Amazon. This trip is risky, but you said yes to do it.

Marigold

Fine.

(Marigold gets on Harper’s wings. He flap’s them twice, and then takes off. He goes up 2,000 feet in the air before he stops elevating. As the wind blows in her face, Marigold is leaning backwards, the position it is blowing.)

Harper

How are you doing so far?

Marigold

I’m all right.

(Marigold looks down at the town below her. There are no trees lining any of the blocks. There are no forests or big clumps of trees anywhere.)

Marigold

Wow. How could this happen to all these trees?

Harper

As you know, man cut them down. It’s so corrupt. Trees and animals lived on Earth much longer, yet humans think its okay to cut or kill us to extinction. It’s murder, if you think about it.

Marigold

Yes it is. So why do you want to help me save the trees, if you are a bird?

Harper

Birds need trees to survive. We lay eggs in nests that we make on trees.

Marigold

Oh.

Harper

I knew a great friend that laid her eggs in a nest that some humans cut down. All of her young ones died. Sadly, that story is not uncommon. The birds are going extinct because of those nasty tree cutters. The birds are relying on you to save them, Marigold.

Act 1, Scene 5

(Harper and Marigold have been flying for about seven hours, when they reach Manau, Brazil, a forested part of the Amazon where the Tree King lives and the tree cutters are working. It is currently eight o’clock in the morning. Harper swoops down and gently drops Marigold on the ground, right next to the Tree King. Tiredly, Marigold looks around to see where the tree cutters are. They are working on cutting down a tree that is next to the Tree King. She hops on the King Tree and waits for the cutters to come. Finally, after about twenty minutes, they come.)

Lou

Get down, girl!!!

Marigold

No! I will not! I will never off this tree!

Lou

Come on, we need to cut this tree down.

Marigold

I will never get down. Not till you leave the trees alone!

(Lou and the other tree cutter start their electric saws.)

Marigold

Wait! Before you cut these trees down think about why you are doing this.

Lou

It’s because President Lonn order us to do it, duh. He, as well as all the world’s presidents, want all the land to be free of trees. When the land is cleared, more cities can be made. The more cities, the more money getting produced.

Marigold

But do you believe in what they tell you to do? Trees bring shelter, food, and oxygen. Do you actually think that the oxygen tanks that the government set up are going to last forever? One day they will burn out. But trees, on the other hand, will never stop giving off oxygen! But I guess you don’t care if you stop breathing due to the extinction of trees, that you helped cause. My point is, trees have been around much longer than humans. What gives you the right to cut them down? If you cut down this tree, then I’ll die with it! That won’t look too good for the government’s image, now would it?

Lou

Whatever.

(Lou moves his saw closer to the Tree King. He is about to slice into it. Marigold gulps.)

Marigold

Now, before you cut this tree down, think about how it will feel. Trees can think and have feelings. They even talked to me!

Lou

Yeah, right.

(Lou moves his saw even closer to the tree. It is now an inch away from scraping it.)

Marigold

Trees! Trees! I need your help! Stop them, I’m going to die!

(All the trees surrounding Marigold lift their branches, out towards the tree cutters. Some of them grow faces and put angry looks on them, by squinting their eyes and crinkling their foreheads. Scared, the tree cutters move backwards, about to run.)

Lou

S…sorry we ever messed with you. We’ll never do this again!

Marigold

And if you do, the trees we’ll come alive again and they will kill you!

(Lou and his tree cutter friend run away. They drop their saws on the ground.)

Act 1, Scene 6

(It is a few minutes after the tree cutters ran away. Marigold has moved to the side of the King Tree now. So far she has been speechless in awe.)

Marigold

I saved you! The tree community has been saved, all because of my effort.

Tree King

Marigold, you did not save all of us. It was because of the trees that the killer tree cutters ran away. And, anyway, you’re a part of the murderous human community.

Marigold

First of all, if it were not for me telling you guys to help me, right now you would have been in a tree grinder, being condensed into construction paper. And just because some people in my species want to cut you down, that does not mean everybody does. You’re just looking at a false stereotype of humans. A lot of people are against the cuttings of trees, for your information.

Tree King

That may be so, but you humans continue to use our bodies for your own desire.

Marigold

I think it’s pretty even. Trees give humans shelter and oxygen while humans give trees carbon dioxide that they breathe out. And isn’t the animal kingdom supposed to work closely with the plant community? Isn’t that what life’s all about?

Tree King

Yeah sure, but it looks like it’s about to rain. You better get back to your mom.

Marigold

I have to go back to the human world? I hate it there.

(Marigold turns to leave, than stops.)

Marigold

Wait a second. You know how my grandmother turned into a human by eating a strand of a woman’s hair?

Tree King

Of course I do, I’m the king.

Marigold

So if a tree can turn in to a human by eating some human hair, how can a human turn into a tree?

King Tree

It’s simple. A human must eat three leaves of a tree while reciting ‘I believe I’m a tree, I believe I’m a tree, I believe I’m a tree’. It was invented by my great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- great- grandfather.

Marigold

Interesting.

(Marigold stares up at the top of the tree.)

Tree King

Don’t think you’re trying this practice. It has been banned ever since your grandmother didn’t come back to the tree world when she transformed into a human.

Marigold

Please let me become a tree. I hate being a human. I hate having no friends and no father. I hate how my mother is in love with my psychologist. I hate how the cliques form at lunch outside my school and I have no one to go with. I hate how in the human world status is everything. I hate how in the human world looks are more important than personality. I hate how humans fight with each other for no apparent reason.

Tree King

The tree world has its share of flaws, too.

Marigold

Yeah, but at least in the tree world nobody picks on each other because they don’t have the latest pair of shoes or jeans. At least in the tree world everybody has the same features. At least in the tree world everybody works together as one, unlike the human world where people separate as many.

Tree King

Marigold, I understand your worry and frustration of your being, but you must get back to your parents. It’s about to rain.

(A bolt of lightning runs through the sky. Rain starts poring down. It soaks Marigold’s t- shirt and jeans. The King Tree, however, is dry. Marigold runs under the King’s branches.)

Marigold

You can’t make me go back to human society! I don’t belong there; I’m much better than them!

Tree King

I need you to leave. I’ll get a bird to fly you home once the rain stops.

Marigold

How about this. If I become a tree, I’ll make up for the loss of my grandmother who became a human. It’s perfect. I’ll clear the Porthoses name in the tree community.

Tree King

I can’t let you do this. Millions of trees have asked me if they can turn into a human, but I said no. I can’t just let you transform. I’m not a king of double standards.

Marigold

You don’t know the troubles I faced all my life. First, my dad disappeared when I was three. Then, when I was five I started to see things. It first started as a little hallucination, but it turned into a weekly routine. When I started to see trees, I knew that they wanted something from me. I knew they were talking to me. I knew they were really transforming into objects and people around me. I knew they were trying to contact me.

Tree King

We did try to contact you and now your mission is complete. Thank you very much, Miss Porthos. You are a special girl.

Marigold

I’m not so special to get permission for this, right?

(Marigold climbs up the Tree King’s bark, swinging on branches and dodging falling leaves. Before she gets to the top she finds that she has three leaves stuck in her hair. She jumps off the tree, who by now is motionless in shock. Marigold grabs the leaves from her hair. She holds the leaves up in her hands, the shining sun that just came out of the clouds shining through the cracks between her fingers.)

Marigold

I’ve been waiting for this my whole life. At last freedom. At last happiness!

(Marigold takes a deep breath and closes her eyes.)

Marigold

I believe I’m a tree. I believe I’m a tree. I believe I’m a tree!

(Marigold grows taller, than stops at about six feet. Her skin turns into hard and reddish- brown bark. Her arms and head grow dark green smooth leaves. Her feet turn long and stretchy. They go down into the soil. Her eyes, lips, and nose disappear. Instead, there are slits engraved where her facial features should be. The slit that works as her mouth curves up at the top, in a smiling format.)

Rachel Nadboy
Age 13, Grade 8
MS 51 William Alexander
Gold Key

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