Human Flower Project
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Curtain Rises on BOTANICA
A new play questions the human mastery of plant life in a “creepy futuristic black comedy.”
The Janitor (Chet Mazur) gets intimate with a flowering plant in BOTANICA, a play by Jeff Jackson and Jim Findlay.
Photo: Paula Court
“If frowzy little houseplants cry
For French Surrealists,
Why, oh, why can’t I?...”
Not a lyric from BOTANICA, soon to premiere in New York City, but we offer producer Joel Bassin the lines anyway. Thanks, Joel, for letting us know that this Human Flower Project will begin previews later this month. The play opens February 1.
Written by Jeff Jackson and Jim Findlay, BOTANICA takes place in a sealed “humanterrarium,” where two plant scientists are busy with experiments. But it appears to be the research facility’s janitor who’s really plumbing the mysteries of botany. The caretaker, played by Chet Mazur, stays up late reading French surrealist poetry and his own erotic verse to the green subjects.
Bassin explains, “Initially the experiments seem to demonstrate an astonishing scope of plant consciousness, but eventually the botanists hit a dead end. They decide to bring the janitor into their research.” What happens next? You’ll have to see the play to find out, though Bassin promises a taste of “chaos.”
The play includes literary works by George Bataille and Louis Aragon, and draws too from Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird’s 1973 best seller The Secret Life of Plants as well as the scientific discoveries of Jagadish Chandra Bose.