Nature takes a curtain call in The Silence of Bees


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The Independent Culture

The collapse of bee populations and the devastating effects this might have on the planet's ecology have become mainstream knowledge in recent years, but new research indicates that man-made insecticides may be partly to blame. It's this finding that informs Stef Smith's new play, The Silence of Bees.

"It's an inter-generational family saga," says Smith, 25, from Aberfoyle, "which flashes back and forward over the 60-year lifespan of a daughter, a mother and a grandmother, all beekeepers. It's about our relationships with nature as a whole and it hints at the problems of business itself, of big corporations versus small, family-run businesses."

The new play chimes with the themes of Smith's most celebrated work so far, the multi-award-winning sex-trade exposé Roadkill, in that both reflect the dark side of the capitalist dream. "For me both pieces are about power, and about being able to supply something that other people can't. There's an innate power in that, and also a difficulty. We've reached a point where we want more than we need."

While Roadkill took place in a grubby tenement flat, The Silence of Bees is staged in a branch of the ethical cosmetics store Lush. "By taking this piece out of the theatre and into a shop, the aim is to have people look at how they consume, just as setting Roadkill in a home space was intended to show that the issue is right there on our doorstep," says Smith.

Lush on Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, 12 to 14 April (