Chanje Kunda, star of the cancelled Vault Festival show, Plant Fetish writes about the current wellness trends and the empowering feeling that comes from marrying trees.

Wellness has been trending for a while now. I’ve seen suggestions on how to improve your breathing technique, on transcendental meditation and even vagina steam detox. Now, I am pretty sure I got the hang of breathing when I was born, the transcendental experiences I have had were more potent when high, and vagina steaming treatments aren’t exactly the kind of steamy encounter I have been after.

One trend that has caught my eye, however are the benefits of getting lots of plants!  Why, you might ask? Well I, like many others in this age of anxiety, have been feeling the stress and pressures of societal expectations. I should have acquired ‘x’ by now, I should have achieved ‘y’ by now. I should, I should, I should…

I thought that perhaps getting a romantic relationship might bring me fulfilment, but after a series of shockingly stupid dates with various people, I began to lose hope.

Then quite by chance, I discovered a book called Plant Style that said plants reduce stress and increase wellbeing, and because they are beautiful, they bring you joy. Now, as downing a bottle of prosecco had not been helping lift my spirits, I thought I would give plants the chance to see if they could in fact, make me happy.

I discovered that some women in Mexico, fed up with men, were getting married to trees! Trees aren’t very talkative, but they are tall, do great things for the planet, and are renowned for their wood. Their arms are strong, they have some bark on them. Trees are magnificent. The women who married the trees were very happy. However, the marriages were not legally binding, as trees could not consent.

Marrying the trees was symbolic. The women wanted to protect the trees from illegal felling and save the planet. Marrying plants was also a statement about women’s success in life, which is judged by their marital status. Well, they are married now and have photos to prove it. They are somebody now! So there!

I was inspired and surrendered to this notion. I fell in love with plants: fleshy succulents, Monstera’s hand shaped leaves. So, I decided to start some courtship with my plants and I had such an incredible time that I decided to write an autobiographical comedy show about the experience. The show ends on a climax!!! I was due to start the UK tour of Plant Fetish at the Vault Festival but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the shows were cancelled. My show features a hareem of stunning tropical plants and it is a disappointment that the pandemic means my audiences won’t get to see them.

One funny thing when planning this show, was approaching the lighting designer Nigel Edwards, who has worked for Forced Entertainment for 20 years, amongst other freelance design work. When I told him about the show, and how I wanted to put my plants in the spotlight, he commented that it was the most unusual lighting request he’d ever had for any performance. Can you make my plants look like stars, with sympathetic lighting and a touch of wow? He did rise to the challenge and the lighting really adds another dimension, letting audiences slip into the vortex of the tropical paradise created on stage.

There will be opportunities to see the show once the pandemic situation has been eliminated. But in the meantime, you can catch up with Chanje’s plant-based antics on Twitter, here.