Lit by two soft spotlights, a woman dressed in a long t-shirt, a nightshirt perhaps, stands motionless in the middle of a black stage. Glancing left and right, I notice that toward each extreme of the stage, at nearly head-height, are what look like twisted driftwood sculptures painted grey. At first they don’t hold my attention as my focus is on the single figure, but then the driftwood on the left moves and speaks and the lights on the central figure go out forcing our attention to shift.
The driftwood is an elaborate foam tube headpiece worn by an androgynous narrator clad in a shawl of grey plastic with a sharp albedo, that crackles or slaps with movement and reflects wet and sickly in the limited theatre light.
The narrator coos and warbles, caringly but with false comfort, and lyrically her language weaves between Dutch and English; describing some abstract medical condition of which the woman centre stage may be afflicted by. A condition known as Mint Green.
The suggestion of Mint Green brings about a mild synaesthesia, I can taste it and I become aware of all the green LED’s above the exit signs. Their is music, a faint throbbing electronica.
The narrator expands on the symptoms of the condition, and as each one is read out, the afflicted woman strikes some silent pose, or shakes, or lithely hops and dances, or twists. Each movement bears no apparent relationship to the symptom being described. Vomiting elicits a casual response, the afflicted girl merely scratches her stomach idly. Alienation is responded to with a shrug. Other conditions include ‘nausea’, (strikes a pose like a model) or ‘shopping in Primark’ (a silent scream).
The narrator asks, ‘is this woman suffering from Mint Green?’
She declares that a diagnosis is required.
Two more androgynous driftwood and plastic clad figures appear from behind the patient and conduct an awkward theatrical dance that suggests they are conducting a physical medical analysis. Their grey plastic shawls convey a pallid unhealthy quality and I ask myself where is this sickness? The characters quarantine the patient with a triangle of white wheeled frames and remove her night shirt; threatening in their combined anonymity. The girl patient remains compliant, distant and uninterested; protecting her inner being from analysis.
The narrator explains that the patient has tested positive but not to be alarmed, there is a cure which will now be administered.
On cue, the distant electronica changes tone and adopts a more urgent cadence. The quarantine frames are sculpturally stacked behind the patient.
In turn the driftwood doctors begin to re-dress the patient in a variety of inappropriate objects which substitute garments. She is wrapped in plastic, and helped into a flesh coloured striped foam suit. Her arms are strapped with blue lilo’s shaped like a mermaids tail, a white protective hat with a magnifying plastic lens exaggerates the patients features. Her red lips are outsized and her eyes blurred and disproportionate. Finally a translucent orange plastic sheet is laid over her.
Some truth is revealed; she is a butterfly constructed and waiting to emerge from a cocoon.
But she doesn’t move. A finger emerges like a proboscis sensing the air and retreats. We wait for her to burst forth, cured, transformed, metamorphosised, Kafka-esque with brilliant blue plastic wings.
The narrator solemnly announces that the cure has failed and brings our attention to the fact that some of the chairs towards the front have facemasks. We are invited to wear them. Mint Green is airborne then. Except it isn’t, this is a misdirection; Mint Green is a meme, transmitted by language and culture, the condition isn’t medical, it is human and therefore exponentially more contagious.
Mint Green is the electric colour symbolising bright life, individuality, humanity. The antidote is process and work; and work is a means that enables our real societal purpose; to consume.
Our patient remains true to the human condition, not warped by consumerism and conformity.
She is removed from the stage by the driftwood medical advisors.
Everything goes dark.
When the spotlight returns, a male figure stands motionless in the centre of the stage.
The narrator explains that this patient may be suffering from a medical condition known as Mint Green.