Flowers on Stage



Flowers are the perfect size for imagining. The philosopher Elaine Scarry writes about flowers in poetry, daydreams, conversations and painting. They are so vivid in imagination because their size means the concentration of detail and colour is more intense than if looking at a landscape or large animal. The curve and shape of petals ‘breaks over’ the curve of the human eye. They move in an arc between the material and the immaterial, blooming and fading, like the imagination itself. ‘We were made for each other.’

Wallace Heim asked a playwright, a performer, a designer and two academics to choose one play and one flower to see what vivacity flowers have in theatre. Their flowers were the poppy, the lotus, the ‘breath of life’ – a manufactured flower, the daffodil, the lungwort, the snake’s head fritillary and kudzu.

The collection is on