Hip Shot: MOTHS
Fort Fringe – Bedroom
Saturday, July 20, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 23, 9:45 p.m.
Sunday, July 28, 3:45 p.m.
They say: "A wild crazy game where would-be artists and former lovers and/or siblings turned con-artists are manipulated by an inner gangster to trick a father and son out of their valuables while all of them are slowly turning into insects."
Camila's Take: That description suggests echoes of Metamorphosis, but it's more like Horton Hears A Who, Fight Club and Endgame had a really kinky threesome, and this show is the weird little baby born nine months later. Tiny, invisible creatures speak in voices only some people can hear, begging for salvation. Two people who might really be split personalities manipulate those around them in violent and dangerous ways. And it's all set in a Beckettian world of ambiguous reality, complete with a sense of impending doom and a suggestion that it's all infinitely repeating.
But let's start with the moths, which are an odd choice of symbol. Kafka's cockroach has persuasive repulsiveness, butterflies signal beauty and transformation, ants can stand in for hyper-structured society, hornets are hazardous, bees are diligent, but ... moths? If anything, they're famous for their self-destructive tendencies, but the insects in MOTHS are safely confined in a mesh-walled cage. There's no risk of self-immolation on a porch light.
So why moths? Why not aphids? Or sea monkeys? Or, heck, hamsters? MOTHS never really answers that question. In fact, the show isn't terribly interested in answering most the questions it raises—who's Sheila, and did they really eat her heart? Are simpering Roy and confident Marcus actually two different people, and what is Roy addicted to? Is Lily a prostitute (despite her protests), a grandmother, an innocent woman caught up with a madman, or a murderess? Are the "father" and "son" really related, or are they lovers, or both? Is the son's friend/girlfriend dead? And seriously, what's up with the moths?
Capital Fringe categorizes this show as "Comedy – Romance," but I'd classify it under "Mindfuck – Existential Despair." It's less laughs and lovers' quarrels, and more masturbation, threats of vivisection, and licking spilled milk off a trash-covered floor. It's an ugly hallucination, where a few recognizable elements of the human experience are twisted 90 degrees into weirdness and dressed up in an invisible moth mask. Look, it's not exactly a pleasant evening out. But if you're into bewilderment, you certainly won't be bored.
See it if: You read the Fringe description and thought, Hey, incest and insects are my favorite two things!
Skip it if: You read the Fringe description and thought, A romantic comedy about a gangster sounds just delightful!