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Moths

Moths
(c) 2016 Michele Lee

CHARACTERS
All these characters are second-generation Asian Australians.

Raymond Manalac, Filipino, 27, actor
Lien Tian Wang, Chinese, 24, actor
Trung Vu, Vietnamese, 32, actor
Christine Lee, Chinese, 23, actor
Andrew Law, Chinese, 26, actor
Michael Chong, Chinese, 42, actor

These actors can also double up to play the minor characters:
Geraldine Doogue, Julian Meyrick, British Actor, South African Actors, Indian Actor,
German Actors, Penny Wong, Alan Jones, Alan’s callers 1-3, Airport announcer, Helen
Mirren, Gallery announcer, Stage manager announcer, and the voice of the playwright of
Moths Julie Saksavoonthurum

SETTING
A theatre. And beyond the theatre.

TIME
Now.

NOTES

The interview material used is actual verbatim material from interviews with Asian
Australian people. These are people who grew up in Australia. They do not have accented
English; they are not speaking English as their second language. It is important that in
distinguishing between the different voices the actors do not opt for accented English, as this
suggests that the interviews are with people who didn’t grow up in Australia.

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/

= This is an indication for the actor saying the next line to begin their line.

– = This is an indication for the actor saying the line to halt what they’re saying.
... = This is an indication for the actor saying the line to trail off.

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ONE

A rehearsal space. RAYMOND plays recordings to everyone.
RAYMOND: She’s female. 28. Vietnamese. Social worker.
RECORDING: Um... the first good sex I had this is a... it was actually with a girl. And she’s
a white girl. Big boobs. D cup. [Laughs.] I have sex with her after I have sex with the
dude that... um... the Vietnamese gangster boy. And when he finds out about me and
this girl he gets really upset. He rings both of our parents [laughs] to dob us in. ‘Do you
know your daughter’s a lesbian?’ And to my parents’ credit, they actually respond
better than her parents, who are white. They... um... threaten her. ‘We’re going to stop
paying your tuition fees and giving you money. Unless you come home. Unless you
stop seeing Tina.’ And then they write me a nasty letter. Her mum does. Threatens to
tell the police. She calls me a witch, I’ve cast a spell on her daughter.

Beat.
RAYMOND: He’s male. 26. Malaysian. Student.
RECORDING: “But um, yeah no, the first time’s when I’m 18 and it’s an older woman... she
could be in her 30s. Just really drunk in a place called Carnegies. It’s... short and
probably pretty crap. I do feel like I’ve achieved something, that’s the purpose of the
whole thing is just like ‘I have to do it’. I was getting too long in the tooth to be a
virgin. The thing is, now I don’t really have... I have friends who have particular tastes
in women and I have a sort of... like any age, older doesn’t matter and like race doesn’t
matter. As long as they don’t outweigh me but that’s not hard!”

With scripts.

CHRISTINE: 36. Singaporean. Female. Kinesiologist.
LIEN TIAN: “Here’s the thing. Some of the best sex I’ve had was with myself. [Laughs.] Ok
I was, um, whipped to an orgasm whilst in stocks in public. At Sexpo.”
CHRISTINE: And there’s her friend.
TRUNG: “I had free tickets to Sexpo.”

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LIEN TIAN: “There are stocks. And there’s a man called The Colonel, who’s pretty big in
the Melbourne... B-D-S-M...Who’s pretty big in the Melbourne BDSM scene. I think
he’s one of the people who runs The Abyss.”
TRUNG: “It’s a BDSM club. Down in St Kilda.”
LIEN TIAN: [About TRUNG’s character.] “She has a go first in the stocks.”
TRUNG: “I’m into that kind of thing.”
LIEN TIAN: “Then I hop on.”
TRUNG: “People are watching.”
LIEN TIAN: “I couldn’t see them because when you’re in stocks – I have to bend over so I’m
looking at the floor – I can’t actually raise my head to look at the crowd around me.
And right at that time Dr Feelgood – I don’t know if you remember her?”
TRUNG: “From like 20 years ago.”
LIEN TIAN: “She’s do... she’s trying to interview me whilst I’m being whipped.”
TRUNG: “You’re like / ‘Piss off lady.’”
LIEN TIAN: “I’m like ‘Piss off lady.’ [Laughs a lot]. And I have my first Kundalini Rising
orgasm through the stocks.”

Beat.

ANDREW: Kinky.
LIEN TIAN: [To CHRISTINE.] It’s more... you. You should say these lines. [To the group,
about CHRISTINE.] The character’s more like Christine.
RAYMOND: The interviewee, not the character.
LIEN TIAN: [About CHRISTINE.] Because you’re more... ‘defiant’.
ANDREW: Ha ha. Lien Tian’s calling Christine slutty!
LIEN TIAN: No! No I’m not Andy.
CHRISTINE: And what’s a ‘Kundalini Rising’ orgasm?
RAYMOND: ‘Kundalini’ is Sanskrit. It describes an intense awakening of energy that ‘rises’
through one’s body.
CHRISTINE: Isn’t that just an orgasm?
ANDREW: Nah it’s hippy orgasm.
CHRISTINE: I’m so not a hippy. Although I am a bit ‘slutty’!
LIEN TIAN: I just meant that those lines reminded me of you, you’re adventurous. Like that
scene you did in second year.
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CHRISTINE: Lien’s talking about the time I humped a fruit bowl. I devised the scene.
ANDREW: Devised theatre. Ugh.

Beat.
TRUNG: She’s 34. Thai. A writer.
RAYMOND: “Sexually, I think I’m... I’m a very... curious person. I don’t think I have an
incre... a big libido. I don’t think I want to have sex all the time... But... hmm, yeah...
yes if... if I could have sex with lots of different people or just have lots of sex with one
person I think there would be a real tension for me. I think... that when I reflect on it, I
think that is li... in... my sexual being kind of ties back to being... um, not so much
Australian or Asian but being a modern Gen Y/X person where we like choice and
variety.”

Beat.
CHRISTINE: I like that bit. I like that we all know it’s Julie but the audience won’t know it’s
the playwright.
ANDREW: [To RAYMOND.] I love this kinky play. I love your girlfriend.
MICHAEL: [About the script.] This bit is Julie?
ANDREW: [Continuing.] I love how Julie did these interviews, even with herself. All credit
to Julie. All credit to Julie for being Asian and being so horny and putting together a
play about horny Asians!
MICHAEL: Why is Julie in the script?
RAYMOND: I interviewed Julie. So she’d build more empathy with the questions she was
asking her interviewees. As it turns out, she asked me to transcribe her interview and
then decided she’d use some of her own words.
MICHAEL: Was that strange for you?
RAYMOND: Transcribing for her?
MICHAEL: Hearing her speak about sex so openly.
RAYMOND: I’m used to her being frank.
CHRISTINE: Anyway, guys, when you’re dating the playwright, you get other perks. Like
Ray’s going to get his own dressing room, more cash right? And you probably got to
pick every word you say in the script.
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RAYMOND: I may have picked some.

TWO

Everyone is there.

RAYMOND: Then the bogong moth will appear, a giant projection on the wall.
LIEN TIAN: Beautiful. Just beautiful.
RAYMOND: Then appropriate moth-like sound design will play. Perhaps the dull thud of a
million wings. Then we will speak in a choreographed overlapping cacophony:
“They’re half-Thai. They’re Laotian. Vietnamese. Chinese. Cambodian. Burmese.
Indonesian. Malaysian. Filipino. Aged 27. 31. 23. Research assistant. Writer. Labourer.
Kinesiologist. Lawyer. Stay-at-home mother. They’re bogong moths. Moths. They’re
weird, lovely. They’re coming.” More appropriate moth-like sound design. More
projection. Then we will all be writhing in our cocoons, slow-motion, then will we all
burst out, then we will all be transformed, then we will all take over the stage as moths.
Simple stage directions, that’s Julie.
CHRISTINE: Are we in cocoon costumes? Can we be?
LIEN TIAN: Or is it more like we’re doing cocoon dancing and movement? Ray?
RAYMOND: Physical theatre, yes, possibly.
ANDREW: Ugh. Hate physical theatre. Hate it. Every physical theatre show looks the same.
RAYMOND: Julie mentioned something, something about movement and cocoons, we can
clarify it with her.
LIEN TIAN: It’s going to be so good guys.
CHRISTINE: It’s going to be really good.

THREE

A break. Bags open, snacks. Water bottles. MICHAEL and TRUNG in the room, apart.
MICHAEL approaches TRUNG.
MICHAEL: So... what – what do you think?
TRUNG: About what?
MICHAEL: This play...
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TRUNG: What do you mean?
MICHAEL: I mean, well, I mean what... what do you think? It’s... y’know...
TRUNG: What?
MICHAEL: Strange.
TRUNG: Strange?
MICHAEL: Yes.
TRUNG: Because?
MICHAEL: Because... It’s... ah, just different. Strange-different. Bit modern. That’s all.
TRUNG: I haven’t really thought about the play.
MICHAEL: [Pause.] Haven’t done verbatim in... about 10... probably 15 years ago. Ages.
Melbourne Festival. Long time ago, weren’t many of us then, just me really. So there
was me, speaking the stories... the usual Asian migrant stories... then other not-so-Asian
actors speaking the stories. I actually played everyone’s son. Ha ha. Funny, funny now
I think about it.
TRUNG: You know I’ve heard this story.
MICHAEL: I told you this?
TRUNG: Yes.
MICHAEL: [Pause.] Soooo... what do you think about the cast?
TRUNG: What about them?
MICHAEL: They’re... so young.
TRUNG: Are you saying I’m not?
MICHAEL: No no. But, well, y’know, you’re not a new face.
TRUNG: Neither are you.
MICHAEL: [Pause.] Ten years on my green card. Every time I go back to LA, I know it’ll
wear me down. Soon as I get off the plane, I, ah, I pick up my car, get an In and Out
burger, I – yeah – I drive down the freeway, making my pact with Hollywood: “Fuck
this America. I’m back.” How’s LA been treating you, Miss Trung?
TRUNG: [Pause.] Michael. I’ll say this once. And don’t interpret it emotionally. I hated you.
But I moved on. So that’s what I think.

FOUR

The space is clear. No bags. No scripts. Table pushed to the side. The actors are
moving briskly through the room, striding, running at times, becoming aware of each
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other’s bodies. At points the actors call out each other’s names and move towards that
person. We can notice TRUNG and MICHAEL crossing paths, but actually hiding
smiles from each other.

CHRISTINE: Group actor hug!

Everyone comes in for a group hug.

FIVE

RAYMOND, LIEN TIAN, ANDREW and CHRISTINE are present. The table is off to the
side, the actors have their scripts in hand but they’re standing in the space as they say
lines
RAYMOND: Female. She’s Filipino. 25. Bank teller.
LIEN TIAN: “Catholicism is really big for me. I wasn’t allowed to have any boyfriends
growing up in Taralgon. Like if I went to a party the parents would have to call my
family and invite me properly. I used to have to tell my friends to call at a particular
time and tell them what to say. I used to have them to come in the house and introduce
themselves and take me out. As I was driving off my aunty would stand at the fence
and then she’d be yelling out:”
RAYMOND: [With a Filipino accent.] “No boys, no boys!”
LIEN TIAN: “It got to a point where they found out I had a boyfriend. And they’re all
standing there at the table, all like: ‘God this, God that.’ I was crying, obviously, but the
worst thing was my Dad. When he said:”
RAYMOND: [With a Filipino accent.] “Carly, that’s really bad.”
LIEN TIAN: “And I, actually, I was heart-broken, like, I’ve never been told off before. And
from that point, actually, I never did anything rebellious like that ever again.”

Beat.

RAYMOND, ANDREW, LIEN TIAN and CHRISTINE are waiting.

RAYMOND: Christine, can you please read it?
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LIEN TIAN: [To CHRISTINE.] Here. ‘Female. 32. Malaysian. Lawyer.’
RAYMOND: Stand over there.
CHRISTINE: But I need to be here for my bit.
LIEN TIAN: I could stand there.
RAYMOND: You need to be over there by the projection.
ANDREW: [To CHRISTINE.] Just do it.
CHRISTINE: “Here’s the thing. I don’t really think of myself as feminine and I don’t really
think of myself as Asian either. Fuck it all. Like fuck the categories. But there’s a phase
that that so many women – I’m thinking that Asian women – go through and there’s a
particular way they do it too. It’s like an extra girliness, even though they’re kind of
adults. When I watch Asian movies, like, all the women are behaving like 13-year-olds.
And when I go to Asia as well, whether I visit my family or whether I’m just travelling
there I find myself putting on this mantle of... the word is si mung, which is like elegant
or gentle or ladylike. More well-behaved and more girly.”

Beat.
RAYMOND: A couple talking. She’s female. 26. Chinese Cambodian. Stay-at-home mum.
ANDREW: I can text him.
RAYMOND: Just read his bit. You’re female. Chinese Cambodian.
ANDREW: “Brad Pitt is just like tall, confident.”
RAYMOND: Over there, stand there.
ANDREW: “In Troy, like, with the fit body. Whereas someone like Gerard Butler, he’s a
beefcake.”
LIEN TIAN: [About CHRISTINE.] The boyfriend. He’s 28. Chinese Cambodian too. He’s a
labourer.
CHRISTINE: See I need to get over here.
RAYMOND: Fine.
CHRISTINE: [Moving into place.] “It doesn’t really matter what you look like. If you’re
ripped, you’re ripped.”
ANDREW: “Gerard Butler’s not ripped... he’s just kind of a bit of a... nah. Maybe in 300 but,
like, personally, like, when he’s out and about he’s like...”
CHRISTINE: “Did you see him on 60 Minutes recently, Brad Pitt?”
ANDREW: “No.”
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CHRISTINE: “He’s slightly awkward and –”
ANDREW: “I love him.”
CHRISTINE: “He likes to skirt around –”
ANDREW: “I love him.”

TRUNG and MICHAEL enter. They are holding coffees.

MICHAEL: Sorry everyone.
TRUNG: Big queue.

Beat.
ANDREW: So unprofessional. Naughty actors. [Pause.] I’m just joking!

Beat.
CHRISTINE: I can’t hold it in anymore! I have an announcement. My announcement is
that... I’m a writer! A literary agent is signing me. We met at a speed-dating event for
authors and agents. I was like ‘Look, I just graduated from acting school but I’ve
always been into writing ever since I was a kid’ and she was like ‘You’re nervous, we
only have 30 seconds, so stop talking, just pitch your writing to me.’ And I did, and she
read my extract and she loves it, she wants the full manuscript by the end of the year.
LIEN TIAN: Christine! Christine!
CHRISTINE: I know, I know!
LIEN TIAN: Oh I’m so glad for you / I’m so glad –
CHRISTINE: I’m a writer now! After we do Moths, I’m going to have such a good CV, I’m
going to be a writer!
LIEN TIAN: I’m going to be a mermaid, you’re going to be a writer!
CHRISTINE: An actor slash writer!
LIEN TIAN: Can we read your novel? What’s it about?
CHRISTINE: It’s about Burma.
ANDREW: You’re writing about Myanmar?
CHRISTINE: Yeah a lot of interesting stuff has happened in Burma. Unlike Moths, and no
offense to Julie, but my novel is about, well, life in actual Asia, where life is actually
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really complicated. [To the group.] I’ve got spare copies, of my extract. Maybe we can
get the office people to make a few more copies.
RAYMOND: Can we please just get back to this play?
LIEN TIAN: Do you need a break, Ray?
RAYMOND: I need us to stay on schedule, yes the schedule that I had to hand out at the start
of this all, and if we stay on schedule, then we can just do that thing, you know, that
thing where we, as actors, can then learn lines, stand in the allocated spots on stage..
LIEN TIAN: We’re all learning our lines, Ray.

ANDREW gets out his phone and presses a button on it. We hear Julie.

JULIE: [Audio only.] Happy birthday to

RAYMOND: What’s that?

you, happy birthday to you. Happy

MICHAEL: It’s Julie!

birthday dear Raymond, happy

RAYMOND: What’s she doing?

birthday to you.

CHRISTINE: It’s Ray’s birthday!

ANDREW: [To RAYMOND.] Surprised?
LIEN TIAN: Happy birthday, Ray.
JULIE: [Audio only.] Happy birthday soldier. I know I’ve been busy but I didn’t want to
forget today. So happy birthday, and thanks for always being so supportive, thanks for
working on my play today. And hi guys, hi Andy, thanks for playing this. It means so
much to me that you’re doing Moths. But give Ray a break today, it’s his birthday.

The audio ends.

TRUNG: Happy birthday, Raymond.
MICHAEL: Do you... want my coffee?
ANDREW: You, sneaky birthday boy, trying to keep your birthday a secret.
RAYMOND: It’s a birthday. Another year. [Pause.] Sorry.

SEVEN

Low lights. The actors are many minutes into an exercise.

MICHAEL: My grey hairs.
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Quiet.

TRUNG: My stubby eyelashes.
LIEN TIAN: My yellow teeth.

Quiet.

CHRISTINE: My youth.
ANDREW: My scrawny biceps.
MICHAEL: My size.

Quiet.

CHRISTINE: My mouth.
ANDREW: My little eyelids. Ha ha! Fiona loves them though.
LIEN TIAN: My big waist.
CHRISTINE: But your waist is tiny.
RAYMOND: No judgements.
CHRISTINE: My crooked nose.
MICHAEL: My...
ANDREW: My scrawny pecs. Fiona loves them.
LIEN TIAN: My... Hmm. My hair.
TRUNG: My impatience.

Quiet.

RAYMOND: Strengths.

Beat.

ANDREW: Honour. Respect. Dignity.
MICHAEL: My persistence.
RAYMOND: My writing skills.
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LIEN TIAN: Punctuality.
TRUNG: Persistence.
RAYMOND: My research skills.
LIEN TIAN: Reliability.
ANDREW: Generosity. Courage. Intelligence. Perseverance. Everything.
TRUNG: My first Hollywood role.
MICHAEL: My last Hollywood role.
ANDREW: My fluent Cantonese.
TRUNG: My drive.
LIEN TIAN: My beautiful singing voice.
RAYMOND: My conceptual skills.
ANDREW: Everything. Language, food, our culture. My God, we are awesome.

EIGHT
All the actors are present. There is no table but they’re probably still holding scripts.

LIEN TIAN: Vietnamese. Male. 33. University lecturer.
MICHAEL: “There was one time when I was on a train and there was a bunch of guys, there
would have been like nine guys. And they were like white but they weren’t like white
white. They might have been Greek or European. And there was another Asian guy
there. They were talking to him. ‘Hey how’s it going?’ ‘Where are you going with that
suitcase?’ ‘Oh is the suitcase full of your underwear?’ Next stop he got off. Then I
heard the ‘gook’ word used / and...”
ANDREW: You guys know that it’s pronounced [with an upward inflection]‘gook’. ‘Gook’.
With the upward inflection. ‘Gook’. [And to TRUNG.] ‘Gook’.
TRUNG: Why are you looking at me?
ANDREW: You’re a ‘gook’. You’re Vietnamese. Your family were boat people.
RAYMOND: But a young Greek or European thug on a train is not going to say [with an
upward inflection] ‘gook’.
ANDREW: Wogs. And white people. So bland with their language. It’s all these monotoneics, droning on and on, fucking this, fucking that –
RAYMOND: Andrew, you’ve got a classic Australian drawl.
ANDREW: Get me this, this, that, get me that.
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RAYMOND: You don’t fully open your mouth to enunciate.
MICHAEL: [Pause.] “The ‘gook’ word. I was like ‘Man that is fucking offensive, this is
bullshit’. First of all they were picking on that other guy, now they’re using the ‘g’
word, you know, which is completely shit and then also talking about how someone’s
hot is just so wrong to me. Yeah it was fucked. But there were nine of them. So I could
have approached them and said that ‘You shouldn’t use that word’. Maybe I would
have done that if circumstances had been different. But I’ve been bashed before. So I
just let them have my presence be known physically, as in kind of standing quite visibly
and glaring at them. And waiting ‘til one person in particular would make eye contact
and then look away. That made me feel good. ‘Well you’ve seen me, you know why
I’m glaring at you and you’re the one to look away.”

Beat.

RAYMOND: Two men. [About ANDREW.] Vietnamese. 29. Straight. [About himself.] Half
Thai. 23. Gay.
ANDREW: “We’re not very manly.”
RAYMOND: “I’m not very manly.”
ANDREW: “I was discussing with someone, a queer guy, a friend of a friend, about how to
be Asian and male is quite attractive, popular with white gays –”
RAYMOND: “Yeah my brother Tham, he has a lot of Thai friends that live in Sydney, a lot
of them are gay and they all have white partners.”
ANDREW: “Because we’re slighter. Not as, you know, as bigger built. Finer features. We’re
the tallest in our families but in society we’re not tall guys.”
RAYMOND: “It’s our cheekbones. It’s got to be that.”
ANDREW: “We’re down the bottom of the ladder.”
RAYMOND: “Maybe that’s why I’m more attracted to Western men.”
ANDREW: “Because of their big muscles.”
RAYMOND: “Although I’ve never really been in a relationship. I always feel sort of like on
edge at gay clubs or bars. But I like strong eyebrows...”
ANDREW: “And beards? Look. This is our natural facial hair, we haven’t shaved in months.
But this looks like, I don’t know, a white teenager, a white 13-year-old just letting it go
trying to be bad ass. We can’t grow hair here.”

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Beat.

CHRISTINE: Three women. In their thirties.
TRUNG: Vietnamese.
LIEN TIAN: Malaysian.
CHRISTINE: Chinese. “I’m not attracted to Asians. They’re too –”
LIEN TIAN: “Feminine.”
CHRISTINE: “Feminine.”
TRUNG: “I’ve never met an Asian man that’s had really progressive values.”
LIEN TIAN: “There’s this foggy memory of this cool Asian guy, maybe it was at Section
Eight. He was total, like, inner city hipster. Tatted up.”
TRUNG: “Hot.”
LIEN TIAN: “The cool Asian guys, they date white chicks. So, no, I haven’t really been into
Asian guys.”
CHRISTINE: “White guys: they’re not like our brother.”
LIEN TIAN: “They’re not like our father. White guys have our sense of humour.”
CHRISTINE: “Yeah but if the white guy’s opening line is:”
RAYMOND: “I only date Asian girls, where are you from?”
TRUNG: “We were born here dickhead.”

Beat.

CHRISTINE: Two sisters. Vietnamese. 21. 24. They work in office jobs.
LIEN TIAN: “You can tell a yellow fever guy by the way their eyes light up when they see
an Asian girl. It’s freaky.”
CHRISTINE: “But I get lots of older guys at my work. I don’t even look at them, I’m like –”
LIEN TIAN: “You go into a class and then have the normal white guys who are just like
‘Hey’ whatever, then you have the white guys who like Asians ‘cause they just
gravitate to you. And once they realise I have an Aussie accent they’re kind of like –”
CHRISTINE: “It’s disgusting.”
LIEN TIAN: “This one guy at tafe he sees my friend Vanessa and I, he just gravitates to our
table and sits with us.”
TRUNG: “So how long have you guys been here for?”
CHRISTINE: “You get yellow fevers in the club.”
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LIEN TIAN: “And ‘cause we go to the clubs where all the Asians go, you have these select
white guys. And you know they’re there because of Asians.”
CHRISTINE: “We did have one at David Jones. Because he actually moved to Japan. He
tried to pick me up.”
TRUNG: “What do you do for fun?”
CHRISTINE: “What the fuck? And all the people at work are like ‘He thinks you’re pretty’
and like ‘Does he have yellow fever?’”
TRUNG: “All my ex-girlfriends are Asian.”
CHRISTINE: “Ew.”

Beat.
TRUNG: Laotian. Receptionist. She’s 23. “They’re screaming, they’re crying, I’m on the
computer, mum runs in:”
LIEN TIAN: [With an Asian accent.] “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know, I can’t deal
with it any more. I don’t want him to be with your sister. I don’t want my grandchildren
to be black.”
TRUNG: “I defend my sister, she’s so happy with him. I turn to Mum, I’m so cold to her.
‘Mum what do you expect? We live in Australia, what are you going to do about it if
she loves him?’ After two days, Mum calms down.”
LIEN TIAN: [With an Asian accent.] “Tell your sister to bring him home.”
TRUNG: “It takes dad a lot longer. Dad doesn’t understand:”
CHRISTINE: [With an Asian accent.] “How I’m supposed to know what he’s like, I don’t
know his family.”

Beat.
RAYMOND: Visual artist. Half Indonesian. 20-something. “I liked them all! But Asian girls
liked Asian boys. Like my high school was 70% Asian. And the Asian girls who went
there were really dorky or, like, gangster girlfriends. We called them ‘Skyline bitches’.
Chicks who dug Skylines. Or otherwise Asian girls dug white boys. But not necessarily
Muslim boys. And Muslim girls you tended not to go near anyway because that’s not
really what was done. Like, you don’t have a crack at a Muslim girl unless you plan on

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marrying them. This is going to sound completely racist but I’m about as attractive to a
white person as an Aboriginal or an Indian.”

Beat.
ANDREW: They’re male. 31. 31.
CHRISTINE: He’s Chinese. In IT.
ANDREW: Filipino. Telemarketing.
CHRISTINE: “One time I’m having sex with my girlfriend. So I have this little, ah,
Mitsubishi Colt, ‘92 model, piece of shit. Anyways so we’re having sex in the car and
I’m doing her doggy style, you can kind of see her arse if you’re looking in, and I look
away, look into another car and there’s this guy just staring at us. In his car. And that
kills her mood. She’s like ‘I don’t want to have sex anymore’. And he drives off and I
chase him, and he’s doing the whole indicating right but going left and I’m like ‘Who
are you fooling, mate?’ He gets to a dead end and I’m looping around him in my car.
He’s so scared, I’m weedy, I’m not going to do anything and he gets on his phone and
he’s not looking at me. Pretends like he’s calling someone to come and get him.”
ANDREW: “That’s how we met! “I’m that guy!”
CHRISTINE: [Laughs, keeping up the joke.] “I’m calling you, save my number!” I just want
to scare him, like I’m young and I’m not tough, I’ll admit it, I’m not tough at all. I’m
just driving around his car staring at him and that’s it, and the girl’s like ‘Come on let’s
go’ and so we just drive off. [To ANDREW.] “Worst and best.”
ANDREW: “Worst and best. Oh ok with the worst I will categorise into four mini stories.
Number 4: the girl’s just so smelly down there, it’s like parmesan cheese down there, it
takes like two days for me to air out my car with all the doors and the boot open, it’s
really bad. And Number 3: ah, this girl, is actually quite attractive, she’s Aussie,
blonde, I’m showing her my best moves, I’m doing everything I can but because she’s
so impressed by it, all my best moves, that she finishes early, far earlier than what I can.
Even though I want to finish last, sometimes I still take forever, to the point where
she’s getting bored and she’s like telling me to ‘Hurry up!’ Looking at her watch.”
CHRISTINE: “She’s literally looking at her watch?”
ANDREW: [Laughs.] “She’s not but she’s not really impressed anymore, it becomes like a
chore for her. I’m like ‘Fucking help me bitch! This is not helping!’ Ahhhh God it’s so

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bad. Number 2 is... oh yes! Number 2: this girl is actually quite pretty, quite slender and
stuff but as soon as she takes the clothes off it’s, um, so bad...”
CHRISTINE: “‘So bad’?”
ANDREW: “It’s so bad. You can tell that she’s had a kid because her stomach looks like a
nut sack, all wrinkly and loose skin and flat tits, pancakes. Flapjacks! Her vagina is so
loose. She actually has to do this [motions a woman holding her vagina together] for
me to feel. And I’m like ‘Oh my god, I can’t look at her!’ So um... my Number 1 worst
sex is, with any girl that I am with is onegina. Onegina is a disease where you are stuck
to the one girl. When you’re in a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still great when
you have feelings and you’re in love, and it’s making love and you are fucking any time
you want and it’s on tap and you have access to each other. However, the problem with
that is especially when you move in together, is it gets a little bit boring. To the point
when I rarely actually finished. And she always did. But yeah, I’m not saying that she’s
bad. It’s just the fact that you know this move, I know that move, fucking twiddle this,
twiddle that, getting AM/FM radio, trying to get some good reception, boom, she loves
it, boom, finishes. And she’s like ‘Ok your turn now’. And I’m like ‘It’s alright. I’ll just
go watch cartoons.’”

Beat.
TRUNG: Do we – do you think it’s necessary that... in the show, that we say ‘Chinese’,
‘Filipino’. The audience will get it. These boys are Asian. Asian-Australian.
CHRISTINE: Australian, really.
ANDREW: ‘Australian’? White? They’re ‘Chinese’ and ‘Filipino’, that’s what’s written.
TRUNG: We can still ask Julie for edits. Raymond?
RAYMOND: I don’t know.
MICHAEL: Is Julie coming to the dress rehearsal?
RAYMOND: I don’t run Julie’s diary. I’m not Julie’s PA.
TRUNG: This may sound pretentious but we’re post race, we’re beyond ‘insert ethnicity’.
Who wants to pay $100 to see yet another a group of Asian actors telling you about
being Asian? We get it.
ANDREW: The tickets aren’t going to be $100.
TRUNG: $50. Whatever the amount is. They’re paying something.
ANDREW: Well they should. We’re good actors.
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Moths

TRUNG: Exactly. We’re more than ‘insert ethnicity’. I’m going back to LA for a few days
for a call-back, for a major network show.
MICHAEL: You got a call-back for that?
LIEN TIAN: You’re leaving Moths? You... can do that?
CHRISTINE: Can you?
TRUNG: For a few days.
MICHAEL: [To RAYMOND.] What does Julie think?
RAYMOND: What does your contract say?
ANDREW: [Also to RAYMOND.] It says she can’t just fuck off.
TRUNG: I’m not leaving for good. I’ll come back.
ANDREW: No.
MICHAEL: [To TRUNG.] What / role is it?
ANDREW: No. No.
TRUNG: A good one.
ANDREW: No fucking no.

Silence.

TRUNG: [To CHRISTINE.] What do you think?
CHRISTINE: About your call-back?
TRUNG: About Moths, about these labels. ‘Chinese’. ‘Filipino’.
ANDREW: It’s in the script. Deal with it.
TRUNG: [Continuing, to CHRISTINE.] You’re a writer, aren’t you?
CHRISTINE: Well. Sure. I’m not into the labels.
TRUNG: Lien?
LIEN TIAN: I....
ANDREW: Lien.
LIEN TIAN: I’m not sure... I mean, the labels are sort of helpful. For the audience right?
TRUNG: They’re repetitive. And reductive.
ANDREW: It’s fucked that this whole play is just about sex. It’s fucked that there’s hardly
any mention in here about our ‘labels’, our cultures, our families, the stuff that makes
us who we are, the play everyone wants to see. And now you want to do this play in
front of a bunch of white people, take away the only thing in here that makes us who

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Moths

we are? Is that what you want people to pay $100, $50 for? So we completely de-Asian
ourselves.
TRUNG: You’re putting words in my mouth.
CHRISTINE: And actually ‘de-Asian’ isn’t even a word.
ANDREW: We are always, always until the day we’re dead, we’ll be ‘insert ethnicity’. We
should be proud we’re ‘insert ethnicity’. If anyone ever asks me, I say ‘I am insert
ethnicity and what’s your problem huh?’ Why the fuck are we pretending?
RAYMOND: No one here is pretending, Andrew. Calm / down.
ANDREW: [About TRUNG.] She’s pretending! Trung thinks she’s better! But when she was
on Bed of Roses, she wasn’t ‘post race’. She was playing a Chinese chick. For three
seasons, that’s who she was. When I was shooting the Tourism WA TVC last year, la la
la, drinking wine, swimming in the ocean, you think I was ‘post race’ in Margaret
River? In Perth? Fuck no. [To RAYMOND.] When you were shooting that episode of Dr
Blake, you think Guy Pearce –
RAYMOND: It was Craig McLachlan. He played / Dr Blake.
ANDREW: Craig McLachlan, do you think Mr Craig McLachlan thought you were post race
in Ballarat? [To LIEN TIAN.] You’re playing the Little Mermaid right?
LIEN TIAN: Yes.
ANDREW: After Moths is done you’re going to Hong Kong Broadway right?
LIEN TIAN: Yes.
ANDREW: To sing and speak in Cantonese. Not in English. You think you could score a
lead in a Disney musical in Australia?
LIEN TIAN: Well, no, but I haven’t really auditioned yet for that / many musicals.
ANDREW: [To everyone.] Mike. Now Mike. Mike Mike Mike. Mike’s been on Power
Rangers, he was on that US crime show Vandals, he was on that sci-fi show Born
Again. Look it up guys. Do your research. Mike is our grandfather. Before most of us
started, he was doing his first show in Australia, Mike was a lead on Head Start 15
years ago, his character was with a white chick, it was interracial, sure, a big deal, but
he knows and we all know that they wrote him out in season two because Australia
can’t handle being ‘post race’, and no-one remembers who he was, no-one remembers
us unless we’re doing martial arts. [Seeing MICHAEL’S face.] What?
MICHAEL: Who told you about Power Rangers?
ANDREW: I know your work. In this business, you’re my family.
TRUNG: With all respect, Andrew, I think you’re overreacting.
20

Moths

ANDREW: You’re fucking off! You have no right to speak to me about this play. Do not
speak with me.
TRUNG: [To MICHAEL.] Do you agree with me?
MICHAEL: I – I...
ANDREW: [To CHRISTINE, who is laughing.] Shut up, Christine.
CHRISTINE: [Laughing.] You’re married to a white woman. [Seeing ANDREW’s face.] We
all see Fiona pick him up after rehearsals. I mean, she’s super nice but she’s totally
white. She’s really Aussie. And when Andy’s with her he’s all ‘G’day babe, bloody
nice to see ya, babe’ and she’s all ‘G’day babe, nice to see you too’. I’ve heard the way
you guys talk.
ANDREW: Yeah we’re being ironic!
RAYMOND: The labels aren’t the real issue. The Asian interviewees in Moths are
emasculated or they’re depicted as pigs. I said to Julie time and time again, does she
want Moths to open and audiences come away thinking “Oh, well an Asian girl did the
interviews so she must know what she’s doing. So it must be true then, Asian men are
rather like women when it comes to their sexuality or, when they’re not like women,
they’re over-compensating, they’re like beasts.”
TRUNG: I actually don’t have an issue with that.
RAYMOND: You don’t have an issue with Julie’s sexist stereotypes? With ‘onegina’?
TRUNG: It’s interesting vocabulary.
RAYMOND: You know what’s interesting? That Julie gets to pick what vocabulary even
exists.
TRUNG: Ray, if you’ve got a bee in your bonnet, she’s your partner, so address it with her.
RAYMOND: I can’t. She’s not talking to me. She broke up with me, everyone, how’s that?
And get this. Now she’s the one who’s refusing to talk. Is that how it works Julie? Huh?
You just break it off and then you shut the fuck up? After? Not before? Huh?
LIEN TIAN: [Pause.] Guys. Why do we have to be so analytical? It’s just a play.
ANDREW: [Pause.] This is not a play. This is us.

Beat.
RAYMOND: Bogong moths image. Post-cocoon, we’re all on stage.
ANDREW: End fucking play.

21

Moths

ANDREW goes over to the table, or wherever his bag is, gets his things and exits.
And one by one, the others leave too. Then it’s just TRUNG and MICHAEL.

Quiet.

MICHAEL: Soooo.... what do you think?
TRUNG: Michael, don’t. Please. I mean it.
MICHAEL: What?
TRUNG: Flirt with me. God. It’s so... God. I can’t believe I...
MICHAEL: What?
TRUNG: Just don’t.
MICHAEL: I wasn’t / doing –
TRUNG: It’s not the same as before, between us. But then in some unfortunate ways it’s
exactly the same as before. You don’t back me up.
MICHAEL: What?
TRUNG: In front of a group of people you don’t back me up. Michael, for my call-back, the
executive producer and the co-star want to meet me. The co-star is Helen fucking
Mirren. I’m one meeting away from playing opposite Helen Mirren.
MICHAEL: Helen Mirren. [Pause.] Helen Mirren.

NINE

The actors speak to camera.

CHRISTINE: Why am I in Moths? Should I be speaking as though the play is on already?
Fuck! The play being on! Fuck! That’s actually – sorry, can you cut out the swearing?
This is my first professional gig so it’s the first time I’ll have anything to invite people
to. My boyfriend... well, he’s not really my boyfriend, we’re still seeing other people
but for the sake of a commonly understood word, he’ll be known as my boyfriend. I’d
like to invite my ‘boyfriend’ along but, the thing is, he’s a wanker. I mean that in the
kindest way; I should know, I’m kind of a wanker too!. Last night I texted him to see if
he wanted to hook up and he didn’t get back until an hour later, then I didn’t get back to
him until half an hour later. And so on. And we eventually got around to hooking up
and then I lay awake in bed afterwards thinking ‘What the fuck am I doing? Is this the
22

Moths

sort of guy who I hit up for company?’ Someone who’s so… non-committal. You know
what he calls this play? ‘The Asian play’. Like, seriously? I’ve been telling him about
this and still, all he can say is ‘The Asian play’. Anyway: off the topic. Everyone come
and see the show, book your tickets, now. There’s a Power Ranger in this!

Beat.
LIEN TIAN: What does it mean to be in in Moths? For me it’s been so rewarding to be cast
in this play because as a young actor I cherish the opportunities to work on new
Australian plays. I’m very fortunate for these opportunities. [Pause.] I feel that the best
way to answer the question about being in this play is to just come and see the show.
It’s going to be such a great theatrical experience, it’s a great artistic team involved.
Thank you.

Beat.
RAYMOND: Why is Julie Saksavoonthurum’s work important? [Pause.] Did Julie write
these questions? It sounds like something Julie would ask you guys to ask us. [Pause.]
Did you know that the bogong moth is only one out of the twenty thousand or so
specimens of moths that migrates? The rest don’t. It’s highly fascinating. You know it
was my idea that we go to the Blue Mountains to try to find the bogong moths in
‘aestivation’? That means hibernation. The bogong moths stay in the cool climate of the
mountains over summer. And after summer ends, after half a year, the moths return
home to breed.

Beat.
ANDREW: How does this work represent us? How does this work represent us? It doesn’t. It
hides us. Don’t see the show. Don’t book your tickets. Don’t come.

Beat.

MICHAEL: Am I excited to be returning to the Australian stage? [Pause.] Helen Mirren.

23

Moths

TEN

Opening night. There is sound design, video and projections of moths. The actors,
except TRUNG, are all on stage in white costumes, leotards etc, make-up.
MICHAEL: A man. The lecturer. 33. Laotian. “I went to Thailand, with my girlfriend. We go
to some island. I can’t remember the name of it but it’s not a very busy island. We have
to travel out there by boat and on the boat, the people who we’re sharing with, I’d say
the majority of the other people are white males with younger-looking Thai women. So,
we don’t know what the context is. We don’t know whether these are Thai sex workers,
or whether they’re just their girlfriends, short-term or long-term girlfriends, or what the
situation is. Maybe they’re sex workers. And I don’t say it, like my girlfriend says it
first. She’s like: ‘These guys are oldddd’ and then I’m like ‘Ok it’s not just me!’
Because of race, because I’m Asian I thought I was like perceiving it in this way. Like
most of the men are bald and overweight. They’re very much the dominant beings,
they’re like ‘Get me this, get me that’ kind of thing. And I guess this is like my fears.
All these women in these relationships, if they have children, it’s like a kid will be half
Asian and half white and see what it means to be Asian, which is to be subservient, to
be less than.”
All the actors begin to form a moths flurry – treat this next lot of text in whatever way is
needed.

CHRISTINE: You moths! You aliens! You!
LIEN TIAN: You wanted to come here for a while! You didn’t want to stay home!
MICHAEL: In your country!
ANDREW: Maybe come here a week.
RAYMOND: Maybe a year.
LIEN TIAN: Maybe even longer. Go on and say something to me!
CHRISTINE: What have you done to your eyes? Your fuck-off eyes.
RAYMOND: Your defiant, beautiful eyes. You’re coming. You’re here.

The sound design, video and projections crescendo. A physical theatre moment.

24

Moths

A projection of a cocoon image bursts on the wall.

Lights out. Darkness.

Beat.

Lights up. Then the actors bow.

The audience claps. Thunderous applause.

ELEVEN

The end of a long, exhausting season.

A bar, maybe the dressing room.

All the actors are there except for TRUNG. They are half in their costumes. They are
drinking. They are drunk except for CHRISTINE, who is quite sober.

RAYMOND: Fuck this play! Fuck this season!
ANDREW: Extended season.
RAYMOND: Fuck this extended season.
ANDREW: Go Ray. Go boy. Woop woop!
RAYMOND: Fuck you! Fuck you five-star reviewers.
ANDREW: Look he’s getting the classic Asian red face!
RAYMOND: I – Raymond Manalac – I have had five thousand shots.
MICHAEL: [Laughing.] Red face. Red face.
LIEN TIAN: Oh no. Vomit.
MICHAEL: [Laughing.] Vomit vomit. Ribbit ribbit.
CHRISTINE: [Reading.] “Julie Saksavoonthurum’s Moths is a highly accomplished
exploration of contemporary Asian Australian identity. Saksavoonthurum skilfully
weaves together verbatim interviews that she conducted –
RAYMOND: I did! I did them! Raymond Manalac did them!
CHRISTINE: [Reading.] “That Raymond Manalac did.”
25

Moths

RAYMOND: It says that? The review says that?
CHRISTINE: No. [Reading.] “That she did with elegant metaphors of the bogong moth.
Saksavoonthurum’s work digs deep, questioning not only the place of Asian
Australians in our society but our place as Australians in the Asia Pacific region. Five
stars.”
RAYMOND: So wanky.
MICHAEL: Wanky wanky.
CHRISTINE: It’s kind of true though.
RAYMOND: So wanky but my wanky. It should be my wanky. I wrote Moths. I wrote it all.
ANDREW: Ray, calm down. Chill. Relaxxxxx.
RAYMOND: Where is she?
MICHAEL: LA. Trung is gone. Trung is gone.
RAYMOND: Where the fuck is Julie? On her next residency in Paris!
LIEN TIAN: [To CHRISTINE.] Kisses for me?
CHRISTINE: Lien. We’ve just done a big show, everyone likes it. We have to be grown up
now. No more kissing. We’re not VCA grads anymore. We’re from the highly
prestigious Moths.
RAYMOND: The premier came twice. The Victorian premier.
CHRISTINE: He was talking to me in the foyer for ages.
LIEN TIAN: Just once more. One more kiss.
CHRISTINE: Lien! Seriously. I’m talking politics.
RAYMOND: The premier came to my play.
LIEN TIAN: Christine, kiss! Cuddle!
CHRISTINE: Go away.
LIEN TIAN: I am going away. I am. I’m going to Hong Kong. I’m leaving you all. I’ll be by
myself. I won’t have any friends. You guys won’t visit me. No one will visit me. No
one will see my show. No one will say The Little Mermaid is remarkable. Look at my
teeth. I’ve been getting whitening treatments and my teeth still aren’t as white as I need
them to be. They’re not Hong Kong white. I need to be a princess. Christine! I don’t
know if I can be a mermaid.
CHRISTINE: Come here. [Hugging her.] No kissing though. Just hugging.
RAYMOND: [Reading.] Oh fuck. Fuck. Another five stars!
MICHAEL: Christine and Lien are hugging. Aw.

26

Moths

ANDREW: I came into Moths and from the very start I was so negative. I hate this, I hate
that. But this is our show and people loved our show. I love our show. I love you guys,
I love youse all. Look at youse girls. Youse are so beautiful. If I saw a man yelling at
youse the way I yelled at all of youse...
MICHAEL: Never yell at women!
ANDREW: They love us, they love our work, they love Julie Saksavoon... voon... th...
however you say – whatever. Julie, we love you baby!
LIEN TIAN: [To ANDREW.] Huggy. Come and huggy.

ANDREW goes over and hugs LIEN TIAN. MICHAEL giggles, a lot.
RAYMOND: [Reading.] “Did you know that moths have thousands of little mouths? Asian
Australian playwright Julie Saksavoonthurum began her play Moths with this simple
fact and from it spawned her epic new original work.” Epic?
ANDREW: It was epic. It was amazing.
LIEN TIAN: You’re amazing.
ANDREW: You’re amazing. So amazing. I’m going to visit you in Hong Kong. Woop woop!
RAYMOND: “Devastating, lyrical, ahead of its time. A tapestry of Asian identity that begins
with individual sexual anecdotes, and which ends with a gut-wrenching analysis of sex
work and the implication of us all in how we construct and constrain the Asian
Australian ‘china dolls’ and ‘lady boys’. Five stars.”
MICHAEL: We are five stars.
LIEN TIAN: [To ANDREW.] You’re so amazing. Fiona’s so lucky to have you.
ANDREW: Shhhhhhh no talky about wifey. She’s not here.
MICHAEL: …Five stars in the big big big sky. Look at us. You. You. You. You. You can do
anything. The world is yours.
RAYMOND: I did everything! ‘Thousands of little tongues’? My research!
CHRISTINE: Don’t take credit. You were fucking her, not writing for her.
RAYMOND: I did both!

LIEN TIAN and ANDREW start kissing, a lot.

27

Moths

MICHAEL: Ten years on my green card. Ten years. Every time I go back to Hollywood, to
LA, drive my car, yell. Fuck this. Fuck this America. Argh! Me: ten years. Trung?
Two, maybe three pilot seasons? Trung’s the real star. Trung’s killing it in LA.

Beat.
CHRISTINE: [Reading.] “Despite some uneven performances, in particular from Raymond
Manalac –”
RAYMOND: Uneven?
CHRISTINE: Yes. Uneven. “Despite this Saksavonnthy –” They spelt her name wrong.
“Saksavonnthy’s play is a timely enquiry into the nature of our common identity and its
essentially individualistic and colonised quality. Through a clearly crafted fragmented
structure she creates a profoundly human world, yet wildly alien, resplendent with
mysterious moths. This is not so much a play but a gathering, an offering for wide
reflection, a call to arms for the society we aspire to be. Five stars.”

LIEN TIAN vomits.

TWELVE

A radio interview. One year on.
GERALDINE: Welcome back, you’re listening to a special episode of Life Matters, I’m
Geraldine Doogue. We’ve got Christine Lee here with us for the next hour.
CHRISTINE: Good morning Australia.
GERALDINE: Christine’s one of the cast members from a play called Moths, by Julie
Saksavoonthurum. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to see it on its – national?
Was it a national tour?
CHRISTINE: Yes it was. We went to, ah, about 30 venues across Australia.
GERALDINE: Now Christine’s also returning to the stage for a brand new play, Moths
Unplugged.
CHRISTINE: Yes I am.
GERALDINE: This is, well, I know in theatre you don’t generally have sequels to shows.
Would you call this a sequel?
28

Moths

CHRISTINE: It’s like a prequel and a sequel and everything in between. It focusses on the
raw materials that Julie Saksavoonthurum gathered for the original Moths, which
actually included my own personal story. I hadn’t been able to talk about that until now.
GERALDINE: Beautiful, just beautiful. Joining me too in the studio is theatre academic and
discursive raconteur, Julian Meyrick.
JULIAN: Very flattering, Geraldine. Good morning.
GERALDINE: Now you’ve actually begun teaching Moths at La Trobe University.
JULIAN: Indeed I have.
GERALDINE: Let’s start by listening to one of these ‘raw’ interviews that Julie and
Christine used as inspiration for Moths Unplugged. You’re joining me, Geraldine
Doogue, for a one hour special with Asian-Australian actor and co-creator of Moths
Unplugged, Christine Lee, and also joining us is Dr Julian Meyrick, all-round literary
know-it-all and another old white person!
JULIAN: I suppose you can call me that!
GERALDINE: Now a warning, what you’re about to hear contains sexual content.

The audio of an interview plays.

JULIE: Can you tell me about a time you felt sexualised?
CHRISTINE: I made a porno.
RAYMOND: [Pause.] Are you sure you want to speak about this?
JULIE: We don’t have to use it.
CHRISTINE: It was about four years ago, I was 19, and in the UK, I... I was broke.
JULIE: Ok.
CHRISTINE: And... And I saw an ad posted in a shop for nude portraits. And it said,
“Oriental Girls. No experience, cash upfront”. Oriental. It’s what – well, in the UK they
call us ‘Orientals’. It was a hundred pounds to flash my ‘Oriental’ titties. And so I did
it, and then afterwards, after I took the pictures, well, after he took the pictures, after he
paid me, then another guy came into the room.
RAYMOND: Like a bedroom?
CHRISTINE: No no. Not a bedroom, it was a studio, there was a lot of light, it wasn’t dingy.
JULIE: Oh ok. It must have felt safe?
CHRISTINE: It did. And he was... hot.
RAYMOND: He?
29

Moths

CHRISTINE: The guy, the photographer. I know it sounds bad but if he wasn’t hot then I
probably wouldn’t have stayed. I mean, I’d like to say that they drugged me but they
didn’t. And they were both involved and, I guess, well, I didn’t mind as long as the hot
guy stayed. They turned on a camera, they said they were making a porno and I just
said it, I just said, like a businesswoman “How much will you pay me?” and they said
“Three hundred pounds.”

And back to the radio show.

GERALDINE: Powerful material. Christine, tell me about this, what was the experience like
of returning to this original material?
CHRISTINE: It was difficult but, you know Geraldine, as much as I didn’t have the upper
hand, there are so many other women and girls in the world who don’t get the chance to
ask for ‘Three hundred pounds’. They get nothing.
GERALDINE: You’ve donated your fee to women’s programs in South East Asia, and we’ll
get onto this in a moment, but before we do, Christine, I wanted to say, just then I think
we also heard the voice of...?
CHRISTINE: Raymond Manalac.
GERALDINE: One of the original creatives on Moths?
CHRISTINE: Not a ‘creative’. He was an actor in the original cast. But he alleged that, ah –
GERALDINE: The great controversy of Moths.
CHRISTINE: There’s no controversy. He was wrong.
JULIAN: The fascinating thing about Julie Saksavoonthurum is how clearly she lets her
subject matters articulate their unique truths while still deftly keeping her authorial
voice present. This work, Moths Unplugged, is ‘Christine’s’ autobiography but it is also
‘Julie’s’, and it is also the voice of so many ‘others’, the marginalised, the silenced. It’s
marvellous.

THIRTEEN

Another year has passed. A theatre in London. A British ensemble.
BRITISH ACTOR: [Cockney accent.] “I went to Thailand, with my girlfriend. We go to
some island. I can’t remember the name of it but it’s not a very busy island. We have to
30

Moths

travel out there by boat and on the boat, the people who we’re sharing with, I’d say the
majority of the other people are white males with younger-looking Thai women. So, we
don’t know what the context is. We don’t know whether these are sex workers, or
whether they’re just their girlfriends, short-term or long-term girlfriends, or what the
situation is. Maybe they’re sex workers. And I don’t say it, like my girlfriend says it
first. She’s like: ‘These geezers are oldddd’ and then I’m like ‘Ok it’s not just me!’
Because of race, because I’m Oriental I thought I was like perceiving it in this way.”

A theatre in South Africa. Three South African actors.
S/A ACTOR 1: [South African accent.] “I can’t deal with it any more. I don’t want him to be
with your sister. I don’t want my grandchildren to be black.”

A theatre in India.
INDIAN ACTOR: [Indian accent.] “I liked them all! But Hindu girls in India liked Hindu
boys. Like my high school was 70% Hindu.”

A theatre in Germany.
GERMAN ACTOR 1: “Sex ist, mit jedem Mädchen, das ich bin mit ist... onegina.”
GERMAN ACTOR 2: “‘Onegina’?”

German physical theatre, German sound design, German projections.

The lights go to black.

Lights up. The German cast are on stage, they bow.

Thunderous applause.

FOURTEEN

Parliament House. The Prime Minister, Penny Wong, delivers a speech.
31

Moths

PENNY WONG: Members of Parliament, Madam Speaker, I want to pay my respects to the
great artists of Australia. For too long we’ve been a nation obsessed with numbers;
when we obsess with numbers, we lose our words. We are a nation in deep despair, a
nation that mourns for what it knows it has lost. When the people of Australia elected
the Australian Labor Party to govern, when they elected me, Penny Wong, to be Prime
Minister, they craved change. I want to tell you a story. A simple story. My father,
Francis Wong, migrated to Australia for a better life. My father was more than a tireless
parent, a proud Malaysian Chinese man, he was all of this and more than this. He was –
members of the Parliament, Madam Speaker – a writer. My father was a writer. Not a
well-known writer, not a known writer at all. But his stories have stayed with me, they
have shaped me irreversibly. There is no use placing a value on lost words, the only
lesson we can take from this is that we must now work hard and vigorously to build our
legacy through stories, words. It is art, not statistics, that will prepare Australia for the
future. I want to quote now, I want to quote now from one of Australia’s eminent
artists. Julie Saksavoonthurum. Julie’s play Moths has in no small ways transformed the
way that I, that my father, see ourselves. To quote from her play Moths: “Well, you’ve
seen me, you know why I’m glaring at you.” Members of Parliament, Madam Speaker,
Australia is glaring. We are glaring.

A slick ad plays. We see TRUNG in a couture dress, staring through the camera,
looking effortlessly elegant. The words on the screen say ‘Trung Vu, star of The
Detective and the Doctor.’
TRUNG: [v/o over the ad.] Timeless. Eternal. It’s the only fragrance that I wear.
A crowd of hundreds and thousands. It’s the AFL grand final. ANDREW and LIEN
TIAN stand on the stage in front of the rapturous crowd.

ANDREW: Go the Hawks!
LIEN TIAN: Go the Swans!
ANDREW and LIEN TIAN share a little kiss. The crowd erupts – applause.

32

Moths

ANDREW: We’re absolutely stoked –
LIEN TIAN: We’re soooo excited to be here at half-time at the grand final.
TRUNG’s ad, with TRUNG staring at us with Audrey Hepburn elegance.

TRUNG: [v/o.] Infinity, by Chanel.

And back at the AFL.
ANDREW: Now you’ve seen Lien Tian, my beautiful wife, as a judge on The Voice. Of
course you’ve tuned in to my hit comedy show Everybody Loves Asians. 2.1 million of
you watched the season finale. But do you want to see Andy Law kick the footy at halftime!?!?! Do you want to see me kick!?!!!?

The crowd erupts. LIEN TIAN takes to the microphone.

LIEN TIAN: Before Andy takes to the field, I just want to sing a little song for you. I loved
Hong Kong but I’m just so glad I came home!
ANDREW: Love you, babe.
LIEN TIAN: Love you.

They share another kiss.

A regional RSL club, RAYMOND is doing stand-up.

RAYMOND: Real life story: a man goes into his local electoral commission and de-registers
himself, goes into his local passport office and hands back his passport, cuts up his
Medicare card, withdraws all his money. I don’t know about you guys, but doncha
think the line between radical and crazy always looks pretty blurry. Right? I’m right
aren’t I? [Pause.] People, oh come on, I’m right. Tell me I am. [Pause.] You’re not
saying anything. You know, you’re making me do this, I’m doing it. Do I have to bring
up Hitler to prove my point? There, I’m bringing up Hitler.

Back at the footy, LIEN TIAN starts to sing.
33

Moths

LIEN TIAN: [In Cantonese.] Australians all let us rejoice
For we are young and free…

The RSL.
RAYMOND: You know, there’s just always that moment, isn’t there, when someone can’t
win a debate and so they just go straight to Hitler. You can’t beat Hitler!

The footy.
LIEN TIAN: [In Cantonese.] …Our lands abounds in nature’s gift
Of beauty rich and rare
In history’s page let every stage
Advance Australia Fair...
The crowd erupts. But it’s quiet at the RSL.
RAYMOND: Although, I’ve always been a Goebbels man. Give me Goebbels any day.
What? What? Too soon in the night for Hitler and Goebbels? Plenty of other despots to
refer to. Like my ex. Julie so and so. Oh come on. Don’t look like you don’t know.
Townsville, you’ve been infected with Moths at some fucking point? You know who
I’m talking about. Julie whats-a-face. Drink! I’m funny! You’ll piss yourself.

The radio plays.
ALAN JONES: Moths. Moths Unplugged. And a new one – bloody Moths Unleashed. And
I’m not talking about insects. These are plays! These pieces of garbage are plays about
Asian vaginas and prostitutes! These plays are being taught in schools around the
country! Someone explain to me what the hell is happening to this country?

At an airport, MICHAEL is running.

34

Moths

AIRPORT ANNOUNCER: Paging Mr Michael Chong. The gate for Flight SQ 468
Singapore to Melbourne is calling for its final passengers.

The radio plays.

CALLER 1: Alan, mate, Bruce here. Mate, sorry, mate but I gotta disagree with you. Mate,
these plays aren’t garbage. I took me grandkids to see Moths for a second time and they

ALAN JONES: [Cutting the call.] Bruce, are you kidding me? You bloody paedophile!
That’s what you are! That’s exactly what kind of scum you are!
CALLER 2: Alan dear, Josie here. I am not of Asian origins but Moths Unleashed was a very
good play, and what’s the problem with vaginas, Alan?
ALAN JONES: [Cutting the call.] What an idiot! Josie, you old bat, you’re an idiot. Get off
the pension! Get another radio station! You know what I see? I see Edmond Barton
turning in his bloody grave! I see Captain James Cook turning his fleet back!
CALLER 3: Alan, Mick here. Look, I’ll admit it, didn’t give a toss about these plays. Plays?
Didn’t care. But I’ve seen them. Moths Unleashed was about blokes like me. Alan,
mate, you actually seen it? When you do, you’ll get it. That’s my two cents!
ALAN JONES: [Cutting the call.] Mick, you fucking moron, put that two cents straight back
into your wallet!

At the RSL.
RAYMOND: Townsville, you’ve been great. I’m Ray Manalac, remember my name, catch
my weekly sketches on YouTube.

The radio.
CHRISTINE: Alan, it’s Christine Lee here.
ALAN JONES: Who – Who’s this? What / are you –
CHRISTINE: You know exactly who I am. You’ve trashed my book on your show, in the
media. You’ve trashed every humanitarian project I’ve touched. I’m starting to think
you’re obsessed with me –
ALAN JONES: You’ve got some bloody nerve.
35

Moths

CHRISTINE: You want an explanation for Moths? I’m inviting you to have a one-hour
debate / Bring it on –
ALAN JONES: You’re inviting me? You’re inviting me!?! / Is that what’s happening?
CHRISTINE: Yes, Alan. Yes. You. Me. One hour.

And at the Academy Awards.
HELEN: Members of the Academy, Trung and I are thrilled to be presenting tonight’s
nominees for Best Motion Picture.
TRUNG: Thanks Helen. Tonight’s nominees for Best Motion Picture are Moths: the final
climax, Something happened on the way to Chinatown –
HELEN: Oh I just adore Woody.
TRUNG: Tokyo Calling. Date with my Supreme Leader. Dalai: the life story. And Forgotten
Cambodia.
HELEN: Magnificent suite of films.

The radio.

ALAN JONES: Who do you think / you are?
CHRISTINE: Alan Jones, I am your motherfucking nightmare. Free Tibet!

At the Academy Awards, they open the envelope.

TRUNG: The winner is...

At the airport. MICHAEL comes to standstill.

AIRPORT ANNOUNCER: Mr Michael Chong, your flight has closed.
Back to PENNY WONG. But she’s now abroad, now in Sweden. Perhaps another five
years has passed.

PENNY: Ladies and gentleman, distinguished guests, thank you for having me here in
Stockholm. As the former Prime Minister for Australia, and the current UNESCO
36

Moths

Global Ambassador for the Arts, I’m especially honoured to be here in Stockholm to
accept, on behalf of Julie Saksavoonthurum, the Nobel Prize for Literature. It’s with a
deep sadness that she can’t be here herself. She has asked that I read out her speech.
[Pause.] “I’m running. I’m on my own and I’m in Thailand, I’m jogging up towards the
Friendship Monument. I jog past big hotels, little hotels, shops, banks, restaurants, bars.
Everything’s shut. It’s just me and the mongrel dogs roaming about the streets of
Thailand. One dog clocks me, it tenses, snarls, it chases me. I pick up my pace from jog
to run. The dog keeps chasing. I’m running hard. I bound across a street, I lose my
footing and within an instant I slip, glide and I’m falling. The dog halts, sees me fallen
and chafed, and then, with a slow triumphant gait, the dog leaves. I get up by myself, I
try to finish my jog to the Friendship Monument, I’m sore. I limp a bit. When I get
there, I’m exhausted. I simply slump under the dome of the monument, I stare above
myself, and see the concave shape. I think of caves, of the moths, flattened to the
rooves in the cool caves of the Blue Mountains. Moths, seemingly innocuous and
simultaneously monstrous. In the Friendship Monument, under its smooth dome, I sit
and I giggle insanely. I apologise to no one in particular for my weird giggles. I cry by
myself, to myself for nothing and for everything. I fall silent. As I sit there slumped,
looking up, there’s a story I’m reminded of. A king and a queen have five daughters: all
equally beautiful, all the same to look at, indistinguishable. But different in
temperament: one daughter cries non-stop, one apologises all the time, one says
nothing, one giggles and giggles. The last one never shuts up. She sings, she tells
stories, she yells. The king and the queen find suitors for all of their daughters, except
the last. Men don’t like the sound of her voice. They say ‘What is she yelling about?’
‘She’s repeating herself.’ ‘She’s not as interesting as she thinks she is.’ ‘Can someone
tell her to shut up?’ ‘Why won’t she shut the fuck up?’ The suitors, the men, the people,
they grow restless and resentful with the princess. The people are planning a revolt. The
king and the queen grow worried, and to please the people they consign her to the
farthest wing of the palace. For her own safety. [Pause.] I look down at my bleeding
leg, I look up at the dome. I see an epilogue to the story. One day the king and queen
send a servant to check on their daughter and all that’s left is a note. ‘Dear Mother and
Father, I’ve outgrown my room. Gotta run now. See ya.’ [Pause.] I step out from under
the monument. The streets are waking up. I’m waking up. I’m running.. That morning I
run hard, so hard, a sweaty bleeding blur. I’m young and ancient, I bear burdens if I call
my bruises such but I see that in the epilogue the decades aren’t for sleeping slumped.
37

Moths

[Pause.] Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, I accept your prize. As they say in
Thai, Kob Khun Ka.”

The audience applauds.

FIFTEEN
It’s about ten years later. An art gallery. RAYMOND and MICHAEL. MICHAEL is in
his blue Power Rangers outfit, but with his head gear off.

They study the art, which is in the direction of the audience.

VOICEOVER: [In Japanese.] Gyarari wa 15-bu de kurozu sa remasu. Oregato. [In Japanseaccented English.] The gallery will be closing in 15 minutes. Thank you.

It takes a moment before RAYMOND and MICHAEL both see each other.

MICHAEL: Ray?

MICHAEL approaches RAYMOND.
MICHAEL: Bloody hell. Ray! It is you! You’re looking... great.
RAYMOND: No I’m not.
MICHAEL: [Pause.] Well...
RAYMOND: [Pause.] You’re looking like a Power Ranger.
MICHAEL: Oh – ah, yeah! [Pause.] Forgot I was wearing this. Should I show you my move?

MICHAEL strikes a pose.

MICHAEL: Dax to the max, POWER UP!

Beat.

MICHAEL: Then you clap.
38

Moths

RAYMOND doesn’t.

MICHAEL: And then I sign your poster. Michael Chong, Dax, Season 15.
RAYMOND: Poster?
MICHAEL: Poster, video game. Whatever you give me to sign.
RAYMOND: Afraid I don’t have any of those.
MICHAEL: Sorry, not you, the fans. At the convention. Do this every year, once in LA and
once in Tokyo. There’s a big fan base here in Tokyo. Huge.

Beat.
RAYMOND: [About the art that they’re looking at.] This is spectacular.
MICHAEL: Oh you like it?
RAYMOND: I do. I plan to write at length about it.
MICHAEL: You’re a journalist?
RAYMOND: I maintain a blog.
MICHAEL: About art?
RAYMOND: About whatever’s on my mind.
MICHAEL: You were always a real thinker.
RAYMOND: [About the art.] This is on my mind. It’s...
MICHAEL: It’s what?
RAYMOND: Generous. Detailed.
MICHAEL: Nice camerawork... but to be honest, I don’t ‘get’ video art.

Beat.

RAYMOND: Are you still acting?
MICHAEL: Oh no. No not at all. No. I mean... I mean, I do these conventions every year but
that’s... yeah, that’s about it. I mean, wouldn’t mind... I’d love to be doing more. Father
roles, uncle roles, I’d love that. But... you know, can’t pay the bills with one convention
in Tokyo.
RAYMOND: Oh so you didn’t make a bucket of cash with the rest of them on all the
countless remounts of Moths?
39

Moths

MICHAEL: Yeah. Yeah there were a lot of those, weren’t there?
RAYMOND: A lot.
MICHAEL: Well, they actually... they re-cast me after the second season. [Pause.] Good on,
Julie. She had to make some tough choices going forward. Right?
RAYMOND: Yes. Good on her.

Beat.

MICHAEL: Did the best thing a 42-year-old actor could have done at the time. After Moths, I
hopped online and married a doctor. Ended up in Singapore. She looks after the money.
I look after the kids. Got two little ones.
RAYMOND: Yeah?
MICHAEL: Actually, they’re not that little these days. This is Sasha. Here.

MICHAEL gets out his phone and shows RAYMOND pictures.
MICHAEL: That one’s Sasha. Kayla. They wanted to get pink Power Ranger costumes but I
said ‘No no, Daddy’s wearing blue, Daddy’s little girls should wear blue too!’

Beat.
MICHAEL: They’re out shopping. I didn’t go... I, ah... I needed a break. Family holidays are
always, you know... full on. My wife’s full on. And with the convention too. It gets...
full on. You need space from family. From your kids, right?
RAYMOND: I don’t have kids.
MICHAEL: Oh.
RAYMOND: Yep.

Beat.

VOICEOVER: [In Japanese.] Gyarari wa 10-bu de kurozu sa remasu. Oregato. [In Japanseaccented English.] The gallery will be closing in 10 minutes. Thank you.

Beat.
40

Moths

MICHAEL: You... know what’s...
RAYMOND: What?
MICHALE: Do you know what’s in the building, next door?
RAYMOND: No.
MICHAEL: A love parlour.
RAYMOND: What?
MICHAEL: You know.
RAYMOND: ‘Love parlour’?
MICHAEL: Nothing seedy. Girls from all around the globe. [Pause.] Apparently the Yakuza
run it. Very efficient.
RAYMOND: Should we go?
MICHAEL: Pardon? [Pause.] Are you kidding? [Pause.] You’re kidding right?

Beat.

RAYMOND: One time Julie took me to a brothel.
MICHAEL: Yeah?
RAYMOND: Back in Melbourne. For research. I hated it. The girls, all Asian, small, lined up
like groceries. [Pause.] But that’s just what I felt. She didn’t agree.

Silence.

MICHAEL: You... you keep in contact with Julie?
RAYMOND: No.
MICHAEL: Still awkward?
RAYMOND: She’s dead.
MICHAEL: What?
RAYMOND: The great Julie Saksavoonthurum died last year.
MICHAEL: Ray. Shit. How... did it...?
RAYMOND: Car accident. With her husband. Big funeral. I didn’t go. [About the video art.]
This is his work. That’s her. Extreme close-up so you can’t see her face. Or anything in
detail. Despite being so detailed this piece of work also manages to say nothing. He
made a lot of art work about her.
41

Moths

Beat.

MICHAEL: Dead.
RAYMOND: Immortal.

SIXTEEN
It’s 40 years later since the original Moths production. A green room, TRUNG,
CHRISTINE and RAYMOND are waiting to go on stage.

They are sitting there in silence. They have all visibly aged. MICHAEL is there too, but
snoozing.

TRUNG is reading a question sheet.

TRUNG: [With a slight American accent.] There are some individual questions here too.
Then they’ll open to the audience for questions. [Passing it on.] Have you read it?
CHRISTINE: [Taking it again.] Doesn’t hurt to read it twice.
RAYMOND: [About the beer on the table.] Does anyone want this?
TRUNG: No thanks.
CHRISTINE: No.
RAYMOND: Here’s a question. What does it feel like to be paid such a little fee to be on this
panel? What does it feel like to drink cheap beer?

RAYMOND drinks.

Beat.

ANDREW and LIEN TIAN enter.

LIEN TIAN starts clapping.

LIEN TIAN: Ladies and gentleman, the cast!
42

Moths

RAYMOND: Thank you, thank all of you.
LIEN TIAN: Oh Raymond! Well, we’re all excited aren’t we?
ANDREW: [To LIEN TIAN and in Cantonese.] Did you bring my water bottle?
LIEN TIAN: [Getting out his water bottle, and to the rest of the group.] Andy can’t drink tap
water. [To the group.] Our driver got lost on the way here.

Beat.

TRUNG: The water in Australia does taste... more metallic these days.

Beat.

LIEN TIAN: Well? How is everyone? Excited? Nervous?
RAYMOND: We’re all great.
LIEN TIAN: And in general, we’re all keeping well then?
ANDREW: [In Cantonese.] Don’t stand there and lecture people with your inane questions.
Take a seat, sit down already.
LIEN TIAN: [Sitting.] Christine? God, just as I remembered, sweetie. You look amazing.
CHRISTINE: I’ve just finished a fast.
LIEN TIAN: A fast?
ANDREW: [In Cantonese.] How much longer?
LIEN TIAN: Not too long, dear.
ANDREW: [In Cantonese.] Good.
LIEN TIAN: Andy and I saw all the people lining up for this. Even young kids.
RAYMOND: They’ve been dragged along.
LIEN TIAN: Well you might have a good point, Ray!

Beat.
TRUNG: I shouldn’t be here. [Pause.] I never did the play here. Only once in LA.

Beat.

TRUNG: My sister died recently.
43

Moths

LIEN TIAN: Oh Trung! Not one for small talk then! Straight into it!
TRUNG: My only sister. She lived in Melbourne. I was working at the time.
LIEN TIAN: Well, life is work isn’t it?

MICHAEL wakes up.

MICHAEL: Andy?
LIEN TIEN: You’re awake!
MICHAEL: [Pause.] The father character died on your show.

Beat.

MICHAEL: Andy? Andy?
LIEN TIAN: Yes, sweetie. He’s listening. [To the group.] He is listening.
MICHAEL: The father character. He died.
LIEN TIAN: That episode got about 23 million. Andy was so clever, putting all his content
everywhere, ‘multi-platform’ is what they called it. Oh! Oh [laughs fondly] Andy – ah,
Andy still has a – um, what would you call... it’s a chart! Yes he has a chart up in the
study area! Just a simple paper chart! With all the ratings for his show. In Australia, and
overseas! The Danish loved him!
ANDREW: Lien –
LIEN TIAN: Then he has all his widdle award statues underneath the chart. Aw. So cute. ‘I
don’t rikey Asians, I ruv Asians! Everybody ruvs Asians.’ Such a funny show. So
funny! A real Australian classic.
ANDREW: Lien. [In Cantonese.] Be quiet.
LIEN TIAN: [Pause, to everyone else.] Sometimes I talk too much!
MICHAEL: The day that character died I had an accident with my car. The girls were with
me.
LIEN TIAN: What girls?
MICHAEL: The girls.

Beat.

ANDREW: [In Cantonese, to LIEN TIAN.] This reunion is depressing.
44

Moths

LIEN TIAN: Andy doesn’t like it when, um, things are too depressing.
TRUNG: Death is a fact.
LIEN TIAN: Yes but don’t you think facts are facts, why state the obvious?
MICHAEL: The father died.
LIEN TIAN: [Pause.] Ok. And he’s not coming back.

Beat.
LIEN TIAN: [To CHRISTINE.] Christine, you must have... you’re full of interesting stories.
You wrote such funny things. I’ve heard about your... I don’t know. That book, about
your travels, being overseas. Are your books funny?
CHRISTINE: My last one was about celibacy.
LIEN TIAN: Well, wow. Sweetie, that’s so... interesting.
CHRISTINE: Don’t worry, you don’t have to humour me. ‘Christine Lee spends three years
in her ancestral home, with no possessions, just other women and a hessian mu mu. No
one has sex. Christine becomes a nun.’ [Pause.] Actually, I resurrected Julie as one of
my fellow nuns.
RAYMOND: Of course she’s in your novel.
CHRISTINE: Yes, I’m still capitalising on her. That’s why we’re all here. I’m not afraid to
say it.
RAYMOND: You think I was capitalising? You think I was afraid? [Pause.] Bitch.
CHRISTINE: I beg your pardon?

Beat.
RAYMOND: I’m kidding. God. My God. Lighten up everyone.
CHRISTINE: I’m light, light as sunshine, don’t look at me, Ray.
LIEN TIAN: But it’s the air in here, don’t you think? It’s stuffy. Is anyone else feeling it?
Trung?
TRUNG: It did feel stuffy.

Pause.

45

Moths

LIEN TIAN: I might just take off my cardigan. No one minds if I put it here? Although, if I –
do you think it will be alright if I leave it in here when we’re out there? Once, a long
time ago now, I left a cardigan, just something inexpensive, in Andy’s dressing room
and someone put a pizza on it. Face down, so greasy. And not just on my cardigan,
pizza all over the room. I can still remember the cheese, the smell of it. Just imagine
this whole room – well, Andy’s dressing room was a lot bigger – but the whole room, it
just stank of greasy cheap cheese. And the cardigan was just something cheap from an
airport but still, pizza? It was so disrespectful. Obviously it was one of those protesters.
You know? They snuck in. Always just sneaking in. So angry about Andy’s businesses,
Andy’s connections. [Looking at ANDREW.] I’m in trouble again!

Beat.

RAYMOND: Pizza.
LIEN TIEN: Yes.
RAYMOND: Hope they feed us afterwards.

Beat.

RAYMOND drinks.

RAYMOND starts to sob.

Everyone is uncomfortable.

TRUNG hands him a tissue.

RAYMOND sobs.
RAYMOND: I wrote a letter... an apology. It’s here. I will read extracts from this, if anyone
in the audience... if anyone wants to ask me questions.

Beat.

46

Moths

TRUNG: Has everyone picked a monologue from the script?
LIEN TIAN: All this homework! Andy, you’re right! So much preparation for a little talk! I –
I was even saying to Andy – I said to you, sweetie, on the way here, I said that if you
really didn’t want to do this Moths thing then why are / you coming along today!
ANDREW: [In Cantonese.] Lien would you shut up now?
MICHAEL: What was…? It was something… something… Yes! It was: ‘Who wants to pay
$100 to see a bunch of Asians telling you about being Asian.’ ‘They’re not paying
$100.’ ‘$50’. Was it...?
CHRISTINE: That wasn’t in the script, Michael.

Beat.

MICHAEL is nodding off.
LIEN TIAN: Oh! I’m feeling cold now! Isn’t that the way? You’re hot, you take your
cardigan off, then you get cold and have to put it back on again thirty seconds later.

Quiet.
LIEN TIAN: I find that the temperature’s never right with me.

Quiet.
LIEN TIAN: I think it’s air conditioning. Air con has ruined us.

Quiet.

RAYMOND: Listen. The theatre must be full.
ANDREW: [To LIEN TIAN, in Cantonese.] Did they sell out tonight?
LIEN TIAN: Does anyone know, is the panel sold out tonight?
TRUNG: I would expect so.
LIEN TIAN: Well that’s just fantastic. Sold out!
ANDREW: [In Cantonese.] How many seats is that?

47

Moths

RAYMOND: Hey! It’s Australia, mate! Oi Oi! Planning on communicating in the lingua
franca anytime soon? All your fans out there will want to hear you in English.
LIEN TIEN: He’ll speak in English out there, of course.
ANDREW: [In Cantonese.] Of course I’ll speak in English.
RAYMOND: What are you saying?
CHRISTINE: He was agreeing with Lien.

Pause.

LIEN TIAN: [To CHRISTINE.] You really do look well, sweetie. Seeing you in person is
such a treat. It really is, sweetie. You don’t mind if I call you ‘sweetie’, do you?
CHRISTINE: No. I don’t mind. I’ve been called worse.
LIEN TIAN: You look so... you look just perfect.
CHRISTINE: You look...
LIEN TIAN: What?
CHRISTINE: So different.
LIEN TIAN: Is that bad? Maybe – should I... Should I fast? Flush it out? Should I?
CHRISTINE: I can’t say. All I know is that long ago I stopped telling women what to do.
LIEN TIAN: Oh, well, I wasn’t – oh, look at you!
CHRISTINE: What?
LIEN TIAN: Don’t be so serious! ‘Telling women what to do’.
CHRISTINE: Oh but I’m not. I’m just me being me.
LIEN TIAN: No, you are! I mean... you were a nun?
CHRISTINE: We were ladies keeping a lid on it.
LIEN TIAN: You’re so funny, you were so funny.
CHRISTINE: I still am.

Quiet.
RAYMOND: One thing I learnt is that you can always tell when you’ve made someone, in
the audience, really laugh.
LIEN TIAN: Pardon?
RAYMOND: Comedy.
LIEN TIAN: What about it?
48

Moths

RAYMOND: I did comedy.
LIEN TIAN: Oh?
RAYMOND: For a period.
LIEN TIEN: You would have been so funny, Ray.
RAYMOND: I was.
LIEN TIAN: Andy, why did we never get Ray on the show? We had so many funny
characters. Andy?

Quiet.
RAYMOND: Hey. Guys, let’s just... come on, they can just... Let’s just go. Right now. Get
out of this place, it’s stuffy, like Lien said, waiting around in here. We should go and
get a drink, have a laugh, drink, meet new people, go home with someone half our age,
fuck them, hate them, leave them, and do it all again tomorrow. Because God knows we
could all just do with taking the edge off right now and, fuck me, I am getting more
pussy than I ever did. Come on. Let’s go.
TRUNG: Raymond.

Quiet.

RAYMOND: We should definitely get a drink afterwards.

Beat.

STAGE MANAGER: [Through the PA.] Hi there Moths gang. Just letting you know, this is
your three minute call. This is your three minute call.

Beat.
LIEN TIAN: Sweetie? Is my – is there anything in my teeth?
ANDREW: [In Cantonese.] Always going on and about your teeth.
LIEN TIAN: [In Cantonese.] Sorry, Andy. For God’s sake, you old prick, I’m sorry.

49

Moths

CHRISTINE, LIEN TIAN, ANDREW and RAYMOND exit towards the stage. LIEN
TIAN and ANDREW are bickering in Cantonese.
It’s just MICHAEL and TRUNG. MICHAEL has fallen asleep again.

Quiet.

TRUNG: Michael.

Quiet.

TRUNG: Michael.

MICHAEL wakes up.

MICHAEL: Sasha?
TRUNG: No, Michael. It’s Trung.
MICHAEL: Oh. Where am...?
TRUNG: The panel.
MICHAEL: Moths...?
TRUNG: Yes. Moths. Come on. We have to go now.
MICHAEL: Trung.
TRUNG: Yes?
MICHAEL: It’s good to see you. Saw all your movies. But seeing you here, it’s good.
TRUNG: [Pause.] I’ll help you up. Here.

TRUNG helps MICHAEL up. MICHAEL and TRUNG exit towards the stage.

THE END

50