The Moon Moth
By Jack Vance; adapted by George Zarr
Performed by a Full Cast
Duration: 73 minutes 22 seconds
Available at: http://www.scifi.com/set/playhouse/moth/
Producer: Seeing Ear Theater
Themes: Science Fiction / Mystery / Aliens / Identity / Sociology /
A tone-deaf detective pursues a singing assassin through an opera of blood in this classic satirical thriller by Jack Vance. On the planet Sirene everyone wears a mask according to his status — or strahk — in society. Communication is accomplished through singing accompanied by a plethora of instruments, each of which signifies a different emotional mood or is used to talk to a different social caste. The problem is, the assassin Angmark is a master of Sirenese customs and — like everyone else on Sirene — his face is hidden behind a mask. Our doddering ambassador-detective’s only hope: to learn to use his own mask — the lowly Moon Moth — before Angmark relieves him of a head to put it on.
“The Moon Moth” is one of the best short science fiction stories tackling ideas of alternative social systems. Most stories of this type are found in full length novels like Robert Silverberg‘s A Time Of Changes or Ursula K. Le Guin‘s The Left Hand Of Darkness, but what is so delightful about this story is how densely packed with excellence it truly is. “The Moon Moth” is whimsical story with a truly original alien culture, the tale is part social commentary, part social satire and an absolutely terrific variation on the locked room mystery all packed successfully into 73 minutes of goodness! David Garrison and the rest of the Seeing Ear Theater cast are hilarious and effective but the real kudos has to go to George Zarr who so skillfully adapted Jack Vance‘s 1961 short story to the audio drama form. And unbeleivably, this play is still available for free on the internet! Very highly recommended!