Written by Digby Barrowcliff
After reading the description of the play by Chanje Kunda, it was rather hard to know exactly what to expect from the performance. Collecting her thoughts, Kunda bursts into her narrative with a beaming smile and the punchy statement that wine must be one of her five a day as around each glass of has around five grapes in it! Scrolling through her news feed she is fed up of who is doing this and that, and who is recently married and who has won an award. Being a skint and sexless single mother she draws us into her wicked and humorous journey of finding the right man. Through failed Tinder dates, sparks that have fizzled out, and a typical teenage son, Chanje begins to feel fed up with life.
Sentence by sentence, she weaves her experience of living with complex PTSD and anxiety for most of her life into the monologue about her finding out about women in Mexico who are so exasperated by men that they decide to marry trees instead. A sultry dance by Chanje surrounded by her recently collected gathering of plants demonstrates her partial acceptance of this lifestyle.
Personally, I feel that she was that she attempts to offer a slightly different view on those dealing with mental difficulties; in particular, her allegory of seeing a broken plate on the ground and you: if this plate didn’t belong to you, would you care how this plate was broken? Or when it got broken? Is it your job to pick up the pieces and try and try and put it back together again? This was a brief moment of reflection for myself – and others in the audience who knows anyone with mental difficulties or is dealing with them themselves – to perceive these situations differently. Chanje demonstrates that instead of having the company of others to calm her and help her manage her anxiety and PTSD, she has her plants. Plants give nothing but pleasure and support and ease her along her journey.
Plant Fetish is a an enticing monologue and view into Chanje’s life experience; you find yourself engrossed by her poignant, yet belly-laughing performance. A simple set with Chanje surrounded by one of her loves, her plants, does the absolute trick. With this rather charming performance, what resonates with Chanje’s performance is that she has accepted what has happened and is ready for what lies ahead.