When everything around you is dead or dying, how would you react when fresh life appears from out of nowhere?
Mac (Sean Scanlan) and Jane (Anne Lacey) are faced with this question in Zinnie Harris’ poignant short play The Garden. They live a fruitless existence on the fifth floor of an American apartment building: Mac lost in an Orwellian maze of reports and sub-committees; Jane passing the day cleaning the apartment and envying her neighbours who are moving away. Meanwhile, the world’s energy sources are dwindling in a sweltering future where everything feels hopeless.
When the wearied couple make an astonishing discovery – the seedling of an apple tree, growing against all odds from under the kitchen floor – hope, fear and regret cause them to question their lives and the choices they have made.
Scanlan, who also appeared in the Play, Pie And A Pint’s opening production Heaven, turns in an able performance as the stoic Mac; whilst Lacey captures Jane’s fragile and teetering character perfectly. Harris’ script is also excellent, with just the right amount of subtle exposition for a play of this length, and as things move towards an inevitable climax, The Garden proves to be an extremely touching and emotionally-charged piece.
The Traverse’s spring Play, Pie And A Pint season has provided a varied and enjoyable selection of new writing and impressive performances from a quality ensemble of actors. Its lunchtime sustenance will be missed, until it returns with a new run – and more of those fine pies – in the autumn.