Theatre-Works-MOTH-photo-by-Morgan-RobertsHailed as “Theatre at it’s finest” (The Herald Sun) and “Gripping” (The Age), Theatre Works brings Declan Greene’s much lauded MOTH to the stage this May.

Directed by Briony Dunn and starring Lucy Ansell and Adam Noviello, this exciting season fuses together a remarkable creative team for the second production in the 2023 “By Theatre Works” programming stream.

A love-letter to every teen (and to those who used to be), MOTH is a fast, funny, and heart-breaking story about two young people with nowhere to go.

Sebastian is “that kid” at high school. He’s weird. He smells. He’s obsessed with comics and talks to himself, and what starts as just another night drinking down at the cricket nets soon gives way to an ecstatic vision that leaves him unconscious and his only friend, Claryssa, gone.

Waking to find a moth in a jar by his bed, and a calling to save the souls of all humanity, Sebastian spirals into a breathless ride of schizophrenic delusion and religious passion, living life at a feverish pitch that can only lead to tragedy.

“One of the things that grabbed me about MOTH was the way it leans into its theatricality,” said director Briony Dunn . “It’s all set inside the head of one of the characters, so that openness provides a great deal of freedom for me as director and for the creative team.”

“I liken it to Stranger Things and the way the Duffer Brothers use a black inky ocean to represent an eternal mind-scape where others can converge. Although it speaks to a teenage experience, this is also a show for the grown ups who want to do better and need to forgive themselves.”

“It’s about facing the moments in our lives we wish we’d done something differently, fighting hard to love ourselves, and learning to do better next time,” said Dunn.

A powerful commentary on larger social issues such as injustice, mental health, and the search for identity and meaning in the modern world, Declan Greene’s script cleverly blends text and character to symbolise the fragile dance everyone has witnessed between a moth and light. Whereby the teens are the moth, and the light the high school social world they flit awkwardly on the edge of.

One of Australia’s longest-running independent theatres, Theatre Works is constantly reinvigorating and reimagining the sector by providing a hotbed for artist and audience development. They champion artists and work that embrace difference and celebrate risk, providing a platform for marginalised conversations and voices.

“During the Covid period, Theatre Works implemented a new programming approach that involved identifying Australian plays that received critical acclaim, but had had limited productions.” adds Theatre Works Executive Director Dianne Toulson.

“What sets this show apart is its ability to engage and captivate an audience, especially a youth audience, in a way that feels fresh, exciting, and meaningful, providing the opportunity to see themselves, or their friends, in one form or another on the stage.”

Running for a limited season MOTH is playing as a part of the newly minted “By Theatre Works” programming stream. Other works produced in-house as part of this stream throughout 2023 include Pear-Shaped by Miranda Middleton and Ziggy Resnick, Michael Gow’s Away, and In the Club by Patricia Cornelius.

“Stark, intimate theatre conjured from the visceral ordeal of adolescence.” – The Age

Director: Briony Dunn | Featuring: Lucy Ansell, Adam Noviello | Set Design and Projections: Justin Gardam | Lighting Design: Niklas Pajanti | Sound Design: Darrin Verhagen | Costume Design: Betty Auhl | Stage Manager: Natasha Marich | Producer: Belle Hansen

Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Season: 20 May – 3 June 2023 (previews: 17 – 19 May)
Information and Bookings:

Image: Theatre Works presents MOTH – photo by Morgan Roberts