I loved that it rained when I got round to savouring the performance in the Trans-plantable Living Room. That there wasn’t too much light as a result, and that the circumstances gave the project I’d seen grow and bloom in the two weeks prior, an extra hint of untamed wilderness. As the performers moved about to the recorded voice of someone whom, like a flower, needed just a bit of water and direction in his life, I forgot myself and went along with that thought – drifting to the all-encompassing rhythm of the movements before me on the living stage.
The uninvited character was stealing the show, alright. The rain brought us closer together and dared give us all similar parts to play. Audience and performers embraced its presence as there wasn’t much choice, but also because the whole Living Room was an irresistible invitation to accept our powerlessness over nature’s exuberance and mysterious ways. An invitation delivered in the same unspoken language used by gardeners to attend to their plants: One of love rather than control, labour rather than charge, tenderness rather than force.
The rituals of gardening are open to interpretation. I’m learning to read them as displays of committed affection between plant and gardener, designed to enable as well as deepen the lives of both. The performance in the Living Room incorporated the simplicity of these rituals to the pieces of furniture turned to exquisite planters of unique character and style, elements in a lifelong cycle that can be briefly suspended only by a good ol’ cup o’ Tea :0)
Deborah Freire Guarani Kaiowa is a volunteer at Riverside Community Garden, part of the team who built, planted and hosted the Living Room.