Taryn Bennett in Silkworm, directed by Jenine Collocott. Image supplied.
Georgina Aurora Clementine.
A gorgeous name. A name befitting a star. A name for a famous dancer. An artist. A high society socialite.
But this Georgina Aurora Clementine is… not these things.
She’s a nerdy woman who awkwardly tries making friends by asking lots of questions: “what’s your favourite thing to do at the beach?”, “which animal would you like to come back as?”, “what would you do if you only had a week to live?”
With her scraped back high ponytail and baggy dungarees over a Where’s Wally red and white striped shirt, she’s a comic figure. She flirts and teases in silly ways, talks funny and has a smart answer for everything. In real life she might get annoying. But Taryn Bennett’s performance perfection in clowning allows us to feel Georgina’s loneliness and yearning for companionship, underneath her smiling mask. Georgina is flawlessly pitched, and she ropes us right in with her unique charm.
Along with the ever-present box of silkworms, her pride and joy, Georgina spins her yarns and takes us along on her adventures. To the movies, to a romantic Italian restaurant, to a lovely picnic spot with a soft summer breeze and a babbling brook.
Her imaginative creations are fantastic yet simple and almost childlike. Under the spell of Silkworm’s creators’ clever theatrical tricks, we want to join the magic.
Georgina evades reality but holds it up to scrutinization too. Some of the picnic food is imaginary but the apple, “it’s real”. It’s a playful moment and plants the seed for questioning what else is real in what Georgina shows us. With her disarming personality, she cocoons us in with her to partake in the fantasy… helping her run from something we begin to suspect lies beneath all the fun and games.
Miniscule clues are subtly interwoven and give the work its texture and weight. No spoilers here though. Silkworm oozes with pathos, only fully realised by us once the laughter dies down and we’re released from the fantasy.
This is a finely crafted work, superbly brought to life by Bennett and director Jenine Collocott.
Silkworm is on daily at 15.30 until 07.07. Click here for bookings & more information.
Director: Jenine Collocott
Featured Artists: Taryn Bennett