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Millennium Garden
Millennium garden (Bizia)

Where's the picnic?
(Ayala, Ana, Rupert)

Narcissus - Web
Reflecting narcissus - web

Curious Blooms - Archway
Curious blooms - archway

Curious Blooms - Lily Pads
Curious blooms - lily pads

Living library - rose
(Ayala, Jeannie)


"Spectral presences and
breathing sculptures"

(Oxford Times)

2000 - Millennium Walks

In August, as part of our Millennium Walks project, Café Reason visited the Oxford Botanic Garden for the first time. Inspired by the goldfish in the lily pond we wore orange lycra shifts beneath transparent, smoke-coloured raincoats and, draped naiad-like along its perimeter, gazed at our reflections in the water. Responding in mood to the variety of environments within the gardens, we played follow-my-leader along the gravel paths, rolled on the perfect lawns, and ate the mulberries from the mulberry tree, the scarlet juice running down our throats.

2001 - Where's the Picnic?

There's a hamper, cake, strawberries, a very large tablecloth, and a selection of teddy bears. But where's the picnic? In and out of the flowerbeds in the Walled Garden, four dancers on a summer spree explored all the options.

2002 - Reflecting Narcissus

Draped in the brilliant yellow of irises, our mouths bulging with red cloth to mirror the water lilies in the oval pond, we fell in love with our own impossible images. Moving from pool to pool, we reached for our reflections and found others. We tangled; red bindings wrapped around our bodies, a constantly changing web of intricate relationship. Slowly unwinding, we crossed the bridge over the Water Garden and, alone again, came to the threshold of the river. One by one we slipped into the water and drifted away downstream.

2003 - Curious Blooms

Seven dancers chose their favourite spot in the gardens and, when the Magdalen College bells announced the hour, began their personal dance journeys. In the glass house, Jeannie floated among Amazonian lily pads, mouth agape as little fish swam in and out; in the Water Garden, Phil lay like a basking water deity, smeared with mud; in the Rock Garden, to the bemusement of a group of Japanese ladies, Bitzia crouched like a mischievous sprite. Dancers bloomed in every corner, responding to their particular environment - mirroring, contrasting, attuning, responding, disintegrating, until, at the chiming of the next hour, they came together at the fountain, dissolving their individual selves in the water and the music of cello (Bruno) and violin (Jackie Singer).

2004 - Living Library

Their most ambitious project for this venue, Café Reason appeared every month from April to August, as part of the Botanic Garden's Living Library festival. Each performance was themed around a different family of plants (Buttercup, Mint, Rose, Daisy, and Potato) and all took place among the botanical family borders in the Walled Garden. As the site didn't vary much, we created our performances around the vices and virtues of each plant family, from the playful Daisy to the opulent Rose; from the serene Mint to the poisonous Potato.

2005 - The Space Between

This performance was inspired by Monet's garden at Giverny and his comment, "to me, the motif is an insignificant factor; what I want to reproduce is what lies between the motif and me." Accompanied by Melissa Holding on the koto, we sought to place our dance in the invisible spaces that lie between the actuality of things - to transport the audience to a place removed from ordinary time and space, where the connectivity between things becomes apparent and the relationship between what is visible and what is felt is palpable.