‘The Domestication of Invasive Species’ — Review

Louisa Luong

A pineapple is eaten with a fork, a debt collector grows feathers, and a giant pot plant appears in a dead man’s living room.

The Domestication of Invasive Species is a double bill written by Lauren Meola and Gus Wyllie, starring Lucille MacKellar and Remy Danoy. The first play, The Hidden Delights of Bird Ownership, follows oddball Ezra Finks aka Ez (Danoy) who defaults on his loan for exotic birds. The Debt Collector (MacKellar) is forced to come knocking at his door but when she discovers the birds are missing, she hatches a plan to wait for their return. After drifting off to sleep, she awakes with a feathered surprise while Ez begins to unravel, exposing the lonely chaos beneath his quirky exterior. What begins as a seemingly light-hearted encounter soon becomes a tender exploration of mental health.

In the second play, Potted Plants Suitable for the Living Area, siblings Ava (MacKellar) and Myalls (Danoy) return from their father’s funeral to find a giant pot plant that has mysteriously appeared in his living room. In futile attempts to excavate the ever-growing plant, Ava and Myalls revisit childhood memories of mattocks and resentment to come to terms with their grief.

Despite the stark difference in tone, these two tales of the strange and peculiar intertwine to unearth something human and familiar. Meola and Wyllie arm Danoy and MacKellar with clever dialogue as the actors inhabit their characters with an endearing naturalism. The Domestication of Invasive Species is carefully crafted to make you laugh and break your heart.