Tales from the Garden
- Flora Gosling
- 14 August 2019
This article is from 2019
A moving one-woman show about flowers, consent, and rebuilding yourself
In Ameera Conrad's solo play about coming of age and trauma, flowers become a symbol of purity, a precious thing that, once ruined, cannot be put back together again. Following an emotional journey that is marked by distinctive shifts in the character's development.
At first, her playful monologue about growing up in South Africa is reminiscent of a child describing how her day went to anyone who would listen. It then becomes closer to a therapy session; she is vulnerable, fearful, and uncertain. All the while she tends to a "garden" she creates on a tray table, even after it seems like it has been destroyed beyond repair.
This is a play about conflicts and contradictions; the stream of paradoxical expectations of women, between generations of feminists, but between cultural values and self-worth. There is nothing vindictive about the way Conrad writes about South African culture, only an internal turmoil that is difficult to watch but necessary to understand.
Conrad herself is an actress of rare talent. Her charisma, comic timing, and sincerity give immense depth to her character. In the wake of #MeToo, Tales from the Garden is a reminder that the abuse hasn't changed, and that it is possible to grow back even when it feels as if all the petals have been plucked.
Assembly Rooms, until 25 Aug (not 19), 11am, 11:00, £9–£10.50 (£8–£9.50)