‘The Girl on the Moon’ was far-out.
Brisbane artists Aoife Kissane and Matias Nunez’s teenage love story, ‘The Girl on the Moon’, made its Earth-side landing last weekend as part of the iconic Anywhere Festival. Yeronga’s The Paint Factory was transformed from a mechanical space into an inner-city apartment block for this new production.
Steeped in the magical city that is Brisbane, ‘The Girl on the Moon’ is the coming-of-age story that Brisbanites need. The production nestles perfectly into the architecture of the city within the venue, which is esstentially a factory complex filled with metal scaffolds, ladders and industrial equipment and fixtures.For the eye of any artist, it serves as an unlikely but brilliant performance space.
‘The Girl on the Moon’ follows Pluto and Robyn, two young people on the precipice of dramatic changes in their lives. Pluto is about to graduate high school and begin life away from his overbearing mother, and Robyn is about to move far away from Brisbane to live with her mother after her father committed suicide. The plot unravels slowly to reveal a deeply tragic, but distinctly human, young love story.
Lighting design by Cate Petersen and Briana Clark gave dream-like neon colour to the space, and was perfectly complemented by the natural shadows that the steel constructs created within the factory.
Direction by Lola Bond utilised the space and its style perfectly. Bond had a firm grasp on the coming-of-age concept, and was unafraid to push the limits of how the actors interacted with the space. Despite some of the dialogue following tropes of teen love stories, Bond crafted the whirlwind story to concisely give voice and distinction to both characters, and used the space with such a tangible joy. The Paint Factory is such a unique performance venue, and Bond transported the audience from a city balcony to an underground garage with creatively-choreographed movement sequences.
Aoife Kissane played Robyn – a high-school dropout mourning the sudden loss of her father and trying to find her place in the world. Kissane brought a sense of longing and loss that bubbled away under the character’s eccentric interactions with Pluto and the world around her.
Matias Nunez took on the endearingly awkward Pluto, who is similarly trying to find his place in the world and wants to take Robyn along for the ride. Nunez was sincerely believable as he quickly fell in love with Robyn, and crushing when he wasn’t able to tie her down.
The piece was written by Nunez and Kissane, and is a starkly honest and lovingly-written new work. It is laced with allegory, metaphor and a deep grounding in true experiences of young love and the turmoil of life during and after one’s final years in the familiarity of school. The story of Robyn’s father ‘joining the stars’ was such a beautiful instance of poetic language being used to a writer’s advantage.The echoey acoustics of the space gave every line a sense of otherworldly importance. This was especially impactful when a statement of great importance or emotion was made, and the performers let it ring out across the factory walls.
A special moment occurred on this particular eve. Just as Robyn revealed to Pluto what really happened to her father, it began to rain outside – or the possums began to dance – which added improvised sound effects to the show. Whichever it was, audiences simply do not get this kind of unintentional magic, especially within the confines of a traditional proscenium theatrical space
‘The Girl on the Moon’ was ethereal – even the possums agreed. This show was a testament to how talented and resourceful young Brisbane artists are, and it’s exciting to see what’s in store for this duo.
‘The Girl on the Moon performed for a limited season at The Paint Factory. For more information on upcoming shows visit the Anywhere Festival website.