Why these two winged heroines, and why now? It’s a timely tale: since 2006, the twin sinister phenomena of Colony Collapse Disorder and White Nose Syndrome have been decimating North American populations of honeybees and little brown bats respectively. The humming fields are falling silent; the twilit skies are void. Even those who remain blind to the intrinsic value of individual species should pay heed: these humble creatures tend our crops. Who will pollinate our grain and keep the swarms at bay when they’re gone?
It would seem no amount of scientific augury, no matter how dire, is equal to the human propensity for denial. Yet somehow, Everything Under the Moon weaves an empathetic spell that bypasses our habitual defences of apathy and despair. Put simply, Idared and Limbertwig matter deeply to each other, and so they matter to us. It’s a deft translation, the abstract threat of extinction made suddenly explicit in a palpable sense of loss.
Go one level deeper and the source of this extraordinary empathy becomes apparent. Here again the boundaries are blurred, this time between the show’s creators and the characters they bring to life. Boyle finds her familiar in Idared. Hers is a bee’s-eye-view, alive to the faceted world of colour and form. Having sought out the bright blooms that feed us, she reports back to the human hive in an unspoken language that is both fervid and precise. Fellows is more bat than bee; like Limbertwig, she orients herself in the world through sound. Her sense of song is innate, unerring. The audience thrills to watch her long-boned fingers skim the keyboard, then rise to shape the air as she sings.
“It should come as no surprise, then, that the inherent lessons to be found in the tragic plight of two species at odds with modernity comes packaged in an emotionally-charged tale of a universal desire to belong.” – Murray Whyte, Toronto Star