Opera house has manicured indoor lawn

Sunday, September 11, 2005

SYDNEY, Australia -- Sydney Opera House has sprouted an unusual new set -- a lovingly manicured lawn in one of its performance halls.

The grass is part of the set for a new play called "The Give and Take," which opened Thursday night at the Sydney landmark.

The comedy features a garden supplies executive, so production designer Robert Kemp told the newspaper he felt it was important for the set to include a realistic garden.

Fake grass was ruled out because it is flammable and would breach the Opera House's safety regulations, and green paint was not good enough, so staff began experimenting with grass that can survive in low sunlight, eventually settling for shade-resistant buffalo palmetto.

After lavishing the 775-square-foot lawn with tender loving care, including regular watering and 12 hours a day of special lights, the grass grew so well that production manager Janet Eades said she had to buy an electric lawnmower to trim it.

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