The Garden

The Garden is an off-site performance that takes place a short walk away from the Traverse Theatre. The performance space is located in a small room that has been converted into a kitchen. It is a domestic setting for a tragic domestic drama that takes place in a dystopian future where there are no plants and little hope.

A strong and traumatic story that looks at anxiety in a bleak science fiction future.

The performance is part theatre and part opera, where the two performers speak bitter dialogue towards one another and emphasise certain words with operatic singing. Alan McHugh plays out-of-luck husband Mac, while Pauline Knowles takes on the role of his suffering wife Jane, who has a history with depression. Mac is a dishevelled and anxious scientist. He is part of a sub-committee looking at the desolate predicament the world is in.

The story follows the couple as they are plagued by a weed growing beneath the linoleum in their kitchen. The weed is a green, organic and natural oasis in a bleak and unsettling location, but it is also an object of caution. Jane and Mac do not have a happy relationship and rely on medication to help them through their turmoil. 

Their story is not a pleasant one and the dark and unsettling tone is soundtracked by evocative music from John Harris. The show itself feels rather on the short side and clocks in at around 40 minutes, but many interesting ideas are explored in this time frame. The audience get to contemplate a future without plants and consider how we would react to the situation that Jane and Mac are in.

The Garden was written and directed by Zinnie Harris and is a strong and traumatic story that looks at anxiety in a bleak science fiction future. The performance has a personal and serious tone, where opera helps convey the treacherous difficulties the couple face.

Reviews by Steven Fraser

Traverse Theatre

The Garden

★★★★
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Set at a time when humanity’s resources have run out, John and Zinnie Harris’ dystopian tale tells of a couple at the end of their tether. Living on the 10th floor of a high-rise block, they discover hope in the form of a strange tree growing through their kitchen floor. Based on an original short play of the same name by Zinnie Harris (commissioned by the Traverse in 2009, and winner of a Scotsman Fringe First Award, as part of the World is Too Much season), this operatic version was commissioned by sound and premiered in Aberdeen, 2012.