Words || Cameron Colwell
Declan Green’s Moth, produced by Millstone Productions, is a dynamic, pulls-no-punches psycho-drama that, despite its shakily high-concept premise, manages to create an exciting evening of theatre by Millstone Productions. It’s about two schoolchildren, Sebastian and Claryssa, who are alike in their outcast status, and not in the usual ‘quirky and cute’ way odd teenagers tend to be portrayed in mainstream media: Sebastian smells weird, has an alcoholic mother, and apparent hallucinations informed by his penchant for anime. Claryssa is a Wiccan, an emo, and has a tendency to resolve her issues with physical violence. One night, as the two share an evening by a park together, Sebastian has a vision of St. Sebastian, who tells him the world is ending, and he is the one who must deliver the news. Waking up to a moth in a jar the next morning, he carries it to school, ready to herald the end of days. It’s sort of like Donnie Darko recontextualised in Australia, in that it’s both a dead-on portrait of teenage angst and it does not make much sense when examined closely.
The supernatural stuff is intriguing at first, but then becomes worn thin, and is best used as an access point to the troubled minds of its two protagonists. The schoolyard realism it conveys through Sebastian and Claryssa’s impressions of teachers, bullies, and their parents is gripping and frightening in the way it depicts the brutality of high school. Jeremi Campese as Sebastian and Ruby O’Kelly as Claryssa manage to simultaneously bring home the pathos and keep the action afloat with humour and panache. Also noteworthy are the hand-drawn animations of Todd Fuller, which consistently add a subtle but elegant touch to the performance. In consideration of how much good work has gone into this production, it hardly matters that the plot barely makes sense: Moth still manages to deliver an evening’s worth of strong theatre, and a story that should not be missed.
Moth runs from the 6th-16th of September and is playing at the Australian Theatre for Young People, Pier 4/5 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay.
Wed – Sat 7pm
Early bird $20 (before 9 August)
02 9270 2400 or http://www.atyp.com.au/cameo-moth