I Hope Your Flowers Bloom – Village Storytelling Festival

Created By Ramond Wilson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There’s something to be learned from the plants, among the most ancient of creatures on this Earth, and their infinite affinities within literature, semiotic shortcuts and powerful imagery tools. Raymond Wilson taps into the archaic nature of our green-leaved neighbours to tell a tale of contemporary relationships and self-care – and mercifully without once resorting to a ‘garden’ and ‘gardener’ analogy.

In seeking to reclaim his love for the Scottish outdoors, Raymond finds a kindred soul in friend Flo, a young woman who shares his initial adoration for the outdoors. But steadily, as Raymond realises Flo’s feelings for him wilt like the Autumnal foliage, his lustre for nature leaves the same way she does. In attempting to reconstruct himself in a post-pandemic realisation, I Hope Your Flower Blooms seeks to reclaim a forgotten connection with nature and its ties to self-worth, masculinity and the dissipating relationship between the working-class of Scotland and their quickly disappearing access to the natural world.

Constructed as a part of the Village Storytelling Festival, designed to reconnect and share the diversity in Scottish storytelling, Wilson’s production serves as an influential monologue, a solo performance in which he encourages the audience to listen, feel, and laugh alongside him as he re-establishes his place in the natural world. Littered with the Botanical Latin classifications, the story conveyed in snippets and clues to the plant’s origins, characteristics and metaphorical meanings, all playing a part in the depth of storytelling. From the seedlings and plants which require more care and delicacy to the immense Sycamore felling and beautiful stemming together of ‘Light Gaps’ in a refreshing manner to look at the prospect of rebirth from loss we otherwise had placed hope.

Extending from Wilson’s performance is an insightful fixation on Flo through this objectified yet oddly encouraged the idea of tying femininity to nature, to heal the issue we have in ourselves is done masterfully by Wilson in a tremendously humble admittance. Demonstrating the most evocative command of language – not solely in his performance mechanics and brief flitters of comedy, but in writing.

This manipulation of what is observed by a selection of working-class men in Scotland as ‘flowery’ language commands a tight grasp on masculinity and forms a coherent understanding of working-class culture in Scotland and their reluctance to admit anxiety and give over to curiosity. Wilson feeds the peculiarity of nature and the masculine together, instilling a command of language and appreciation of the working-class relationship with nature – resulting in a rare example of healthy masculinity, an understanding of oneself, in a way so few productions capture.

Bedded, there’s a limitation of movement for Wilson as his piece focuses on the spoken word. Aspects of motion incorporate the self-consciousness of exposing our bodies, of wandering the grass-pitched parks of Glasgow, but there’s more to be done – particularly in the communication of discomfort in exposing ourselves physically. And where the complex nature of the conversation, and the depth of which Wilson pours himself into every syllable, it’s an understandable decision but misses the minor touches of interaction and a more physical demonstration of excitable momentum which could propel I Hope Your Flowers Bloom to loftier heights.

By the conclusion of Wilson’s monologue, the sewn seeds of spoken word flourish in the richness of the foundations of I Hope your Flowers Bloom’s original premise and whimsically superb blending of spoken word and comedy. And whatever tangled roots may occur as the word spile upon themselves, come to clarity and powerful blossom by the time Wilson makes a well-deserved bow.

Additional information relating to both Wilson’s production and the Village Storytelling Festival can be found here.

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