As part of the Form(at) Festival from Central’s graduates of Advanced Theatre Practice, I joined in with Carla Keen’s one-to-one show Seed, via Zoom.
The experience started more than a week ago, when I signed up for the show and a package arrived. We were going to pot seeds during the show: specifically basil, coriander, and chives.
Carla is a storyteller and a facilitator, and Seeds is a conversation for two, sparked off by soil and the different herbs. I elected to work outside in my courtyard, so we could hear and experience both our outdoor worlds as well as exchanging questions, chat, and getting acquainted.
Immersive shows have not previously been my thing, but six months of watching shows on Zoom with increasing levels of audience participation have made me more intrigued about this kind of theatre. When I was invited to review Seed, I thought, “why not?”.
Seeds runs just under a hour. Keen’s easy manner made it less of a chore to join in and talk than I expected, and the potting of herb seeds was reminiscent of Blue Peter crafting, right down to the cling film over the finished product.
A lot of care and attention has gone into crafting and creating this performance: the package itself, complete with branded wooden window box and recipe cards; the stories bringing out the properties of herbs, like memory and fertility; the feeling of creating something together, unique and in real time.
I like how theatre and performance is branching into different areas, pushing against boundaries. Lockdown has created this. I will be interested to see where it goes next.
Seed ran from 7-12 September. For more on Carla Keen, you can visit her website.