Plant B could have been a lot of things. There appeared to be the elements of comedy, a sweet relationship and even a little drama in the movement sequence which played out before the audience, but perhaps because none of these elements developed further, nothing truly came of the experience.
The performance centres around the movements of two girls building and exploring their relationship, from identical movements to the times when they are moving just out of sync and back into it, in the natural ebb and flow of friendship and growing up. The plants, A and B, are ever present on the stage, cast in shadow onto the back wall and looking ever larger as the girls come closer to growing up and experiencing what it has to offer – one of the many elements of the piece open to interpretation, and something which, surely, would change from audience member to audience member as they connected with the experience on a personal level.
As each girl in turn took to muddying their skin with the soil from each plant, what could a viewer take from this? As a piece about growing up, there are many ways to look at it: reaching puberty, and the experiences which come from that; becoming ‘sullied’ or ‘dirtied’ by time or thoughts; the genuine messes that one could get in just by getting older and experiencing more… all are represented in that single moment of filth and grime. What is disappointing, however, is that once this happens, nothing seems to change. It would have been interesting to see the change in this relationship after plant A and B had been experienced, however, little followed which marked a change, and this is where the piece fell short in its expectations, providing entertainment but very little payoff in comparison to the other pieces on offer. Where they were intense, or offered comedy and an element of surprise, this seemed very static in comparison.
That’s not to say that it was poorly executed, or that the work was badly done; the execution was undeniably beautiful, and both girls worked together marvellously, their comfort in each other’s presence adding to the illusion of safety in the relationship they were portraying. There was obviously a lot of hard work in the piece, and it showed in their synchronicity and timing, and possibly with a deeper foundation in the themes and story of the sequence, this would have evolved further into a gorgeous and moving piece. As it stands, however, there are seedlings, but no flowers in Plant B.
The BE Festival ran in Birmingham from the 2-6 July 2013. It will return next year. For further information, please visit The Be Festival website.