"I think it's hard to say that every single person is completely guilt free of having been cruel to someone at some time in their lives. It's a horrid part of human nature sadly. But if young people see MOTH and question for themselves if they can be better and kinder to their friends or to strangers, that's a win."
Currently in their final week of rehearsals for MOTH by Declan Greene, we catch up with performer Adam Noviello about the play and their approach to playing a complex character grappling with mental health. Q: What drew you to this play?
A: My initial attraction to doing this play was the challenge of it! Sebastian is quite a distance away from who I am as a person, so I was very excited about tackling a role that was going to push me as an actor. Then I read the script, and I was so drawn to its themes of forgiveness and the way it portrays and dissects teen bullying. The play so accurately shows the audience what that is like, and how it can deeply affect a person. As a victim of horrific schoolyard bullying myself, I felt a sense of responsibility to take on the role and bring truth to that experience, because it is reality for so many young people all the time.
Q: What can you tell us about the character you play, Sebastian?
A: Sebastian is a 15 year old anime devotee who is terribly unpopular at school. He has a terrible disdain for the world and all the people in it, and spends most of his free time elbow deep in comics and tv. After he has a vision of a world at its end, and discovers a moth in a jar by his bed, a chain of events is set in motion where Sebastian believes he has been handed the task of saving mankind.
Q: Do you have any tips on how to safely approach challenging and sensitive content when preparing for a character?
A: I think first and foremost it is good to have some kind of routine that allows you to drop out of the character or the piece at the end of a day. For me personally, it's about centering myself and taking time to rest to ensure that the content doesn't infiltrate me too much. I like to leave the space or the theatre and enjoy some fresh air, maybe listen to music, and remind myself that I am just the vessel for the story. My job is to inhabit the character for a period, but not for my life. But that's easier said than done sometimes! We have had some moments in rehearsal where we have found ourselves quite shaken by the show. But then we've just taken a moment to shake that off and remember our objective and purpose with telling this story. Sometimes all you need is a little chat and maybe a hug sometimes too!
Q: Why do you think this play will resonate strongly with younger audiences?
A: For me, I would love people to see Sebastian and question their relationship with the Sebastian in their own lives. If they recognise him as someone similar in their school, or someone they once knew, I would love them to ponder if they did or didn't treat that person well. Did they reject him when he needed to be embraced? Did they help him when it was obvious he needed help? I think it's hard to say that every single person is completely guilt free of having been cruel to someone at some time in their lives. It's a horrid part of human nature sadly. But if young people see MOTH and question for themselves if they can be better and kinder to their friends or to strangers, that's a win.
Q: What has been the most enjoyable part of the rehearsal process so far?
A: Hands down, working with Briony Dunn (director) and Lucy Ansell (Claryssa). These two women are absolute forces! They are both so intelligent, collaborative, respectful and talented. How lucky am I?! MOTH by Declan Greene 18 May - 3 June | Theatre Works BOOK NOW