MapFund

About the Grant

$27,000 to support Botanica (MAP 2011), a new performance work conceived, written, and directed by Jim Findlay.

About the Project

Botanica explores our complicated and inextricably dependent relationship to plant life, presented as a creepy futuristic black comedy where morals, ethics, and consequences—along with the human sense of mastery—unravel. The narrative of Botanica tracks the relationship between two botanists living and working in a scientific research facility that is essentially a human terrarium. They share their habitat with the janitor and plant caretaker, who seems unremarkable except for his curious habit of reading to the plants late at night from the most salacious sections of erotic literary texts by French Surrealists Georges Bataille and Louis Aragon, and from his self-penned blue poetry.

The botanists’ curiosity for their scientific project masks an undercurrent of sexual tension and frustration. The pair’s experiments initially seem to demonstrate an astonishing scope of plant consciousness, but eventually progress slows and they decide to incorporate the caretaker into their experiments. The introduction of this human subject reinvigorates their research but leads to unforeseen consequences, unleashing a raft of unusual findings that end in chaos as the constraints of science and social norms are upended.

Findlay's collaborators on Botanica include producer Joel Bassin, plant designer Rob Besserer, composer Jim Dawson, co-writer Jeff Jackson, set designer Peter Ksander, sound engineer Jamie McElhinney, lighting and video designer Jeff Sugg, and performers Ilan Bachrach, Liz Sargent, and Chet Mazur.

Related Websites

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