Author: Declan Greene
Synopsis: Sebastian and Claryssa live on the lowest rung of the high school ladder. Both 15, their friendship (perhaps by default, perhaps by choice) mitigates their unlovability. Something’s wrong with Sebastian, though. He keeps coughing up blood. It’s up to Claryssa to work out how loneliness and the cruelty of youth have unravelled their lives and forced them apart.
What moved me: what struck me about this work was my constant awareness that I empathised with but did not like these two teens, something which I’m not sure I’ve experienced before. My awareness was prompted by Kohn’s Currency Press introduction, in which he writes that “I think writers, directors and actors can spend too much time worrying about the likeability of their characters. We don’t need to like anyone on stage to be gripped by their world. Integrity of purpose, authenticity of voice and identification will win out every time.” It made me aware of the lack of value in this binary. It’s about as useful as any of us wondering if we are liked, or not liked. It’s the epidermis, the first layer of protective skin that stops us burrowing deeper.