The organisers of Croydon Ecology Centre arranged for Terabac, a drama and dance group, to visit Heathfield to perform a play about insects, their life story and the effect that mankind has on them.
Due to the inclement weather, it was a bank holiday after all, the play was moved from the far rose garden to the walled garden immediately next to the side of the house. The backdrop of multiple trees and bushes at Heathfield provided the ideal setting for the play.
The unusual array of objects spread out across the lawn represented an insect and served as props to be used throughout the play. The lead drama actor and coordinator Vanessa welcomed us to the production . Atmospheric music and some ethereal singing set the stage.
The opening scene was a dramatic if sombre affair with the death of an insect and how its demise should affect us all. The players took us through the life cycle of a variety of different insects with humour and pathos.
The australian dung beetle, hope you are not eating while reading this, came in for a bashing as it was unable to deal with the cow dung that the imported european cow was producing. Initial blame was laid on the Australian sun that caused the beetle to only move in straight lines, but then it was remembered that the dung beetle came out only at night! The solution was to import European and African beetles to do the digestion and save Australia from the 12 cow pats a day that each animal produced.
The lifespans of a dragonfly enabled the dancers to show their prowess to good effect. A dragonfly spends the first two to three years of its life as a larvae under the water. When the larvae are full-grown they climb up the stem of a plant and shed their skin. This metamorphosis was dramatically demonstrated by the dances who emerged together from a sack cloth. Further dances were performed with some acrobatics during the play with good choreography and some movement through the audience.
A lady dressed in black performed the role of the Black widow spider. She engaged the children sitting at the front of the audience and sent a shiver down their spines as well as some adults. Before we annihilate the more familiar house spider, a fly popped up to remind us that without the arachnids the place would be overrun with flies like her! She then made humourous exchanges with the audience about the hazards of flying into windows; but she concluded that mainly it was a good bugs life.
Overall a most enjoyable performance with good interaction with the crowd and some sexual references that were funny and appropriate for all but the youngest of children (of whom their were none in this audience).
A poignant moment came at the end when it was explained an elderly lady from Brighton who had cherished her garden could only have artificial flowers when she moved into sheltered accommodation. She watered the flowers everyday as it reminded her of home.
The play, about an hour long, was performed free of charge although donations were requested and we were also invited to retire to the Heathfield pantry cafe for tea and cakes.
Afterwards one of the performers explained that the play had been two to three years in the making and the dancers were brought on board in the last two months.