‘I prefer plants to people…’, Chanje Kunda declares, reclining on a sofa, surrounded by foliage, sipping a glass of white wine, ‘…at least they don’t talk shit to me’. Kunda’s autobiographical spoken word piece, Plant Fetish, makes this lifestyle strangely appealing, as she takes you through the events that led her to discover how plants can reduce stress and increase well-being. Written and performed by Kunda, this show is a work in progress and formed part of the Push Festival at HOME, Manchester.
Chanje Kunda has Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Thankfully, Plant Fetish isn’t one of those heavy shows that lectures you about a medical condition. In fact, its tone feels more like a stand up (or sit down) comedy routine, as Kunda develops an incredibly funny show, executed with an infectiously warm charisma and charm. This is enhanced by the stripped back intimate, living-room set, simply comprising of a couch and plants.
As ‘a woman’s success in life is judged by their marital status’, Kunda takes us through an amusing series of dating adventures that always end in failure. Whether her dates are a Buddhist vegan with dodgy teeth, a ‘hench’ porn actor, or a doctor with ‘bulging biceps’, they all share the common trait of having ghastly personalities. Exposing the pitfalls of online dating, these stories are incredibly funny, yet entirely believable.
Turning to self-help experts doesn’t end any better either. Attempting Marie Kondo’s decluttering techniques, scrapping all clothes that do not bring joy, results in going commando because of a critical shortage of suitable underwear.
After discovering that plants offer a form of therapy, Kunda learns that there are women in Mexico who have abandoned men altogether and decided to marry trees instead. The climax of Plant Fetish is inspired by this notion, as Kunda orchestrates a mock wedding with a cactus. Outrageously ludicrous, yet incredibly entertaining, you can’t help but feel enraptured with the ceremony as she vows ‘I do’.
Plant Fetish is currently a work in progress but personally, I feel that it is close to a finalised production and will only require minor tweaking. Chanje Kunda’s witty, playful personality radiates throughout the performance, resulting in an engaging and delightfully entertaining show. I am definitely going to take a leaf out of Kunda’s book and buy more plants for my house!