Posts Tagged ‘Ash Jones’

Process: In Seven Steps

October 5, 2015 |  by  |  Writing  |  Share

For the last eight or nine weeks plus I have been carrying around several battered up versions of a script by Uther Dean called The Presentation Of Findings From My Scientific Survey Of The First 7500 Days Of My Life Done In The Interest Of Showing You How To Live Better Lives.  It has been the perfect unruly little companion to my mad obsession with theatre and it’s full of words.



Words scare me.  They can be little tyrants.  They only behave properly if you meet them on their terms and let them rule you instead of trying the wrestle them down.  Like a bear they will destroy the house of meaning you think you’re building and won’t do you any favours in return.  They are a two year old and today is their birthday.

Let them decide how they want to be said.  Load them up with too many suitcases and they will drag their feet and make you miss your flight.  Don’t get out of their way and they threaten to mean too much or too little depending on the weather. But if you back off them without any less love they will open up an infinite number of universes of an infinite number of possibilities for an infinite number of meanings.



I don’t want you to come.  I don’t want to open the show.  I don’t, because this is the stage when I love it the most.  Unfinished.  Unpolished.  Unrefined.  Imperfect.  Deformed like a baby with one foot bigger than the other.  A massive pile of tangled up electric wire.  Its brain isn’t fully formed yet.  It’s flawed and messy and a bit swampy.  Its nose is running and it hasn’t noticed. I haven’t figured it all out yet.  I love it like this.  I love it like this because it’s closest to how I see the world.  Uncertain.  Unknowing.  So much work still to do and running out of Time to do it.

I wish the show could stay in this awkward state of tension forever.  Almost done, but not quite.  As soon as it knows what it is it will behave like an arrogant business man.  Right now it’s gangly teenage monster.  It’s already late for school, but it still decided to stop in the middle of a busy town square and close their eyes to feel the sun on their skin.

Let’s never finish this thing.



Be Lost> Stay Lost.

Be Formless>Stay Formless.

Be Anti-Virtuosic>Stay Anti-Virtuosic.

Be Unpolished>Stay Unpolished.

Be Unfocused>Stay Unfocused.

Be An Awkward 3 Way Handshake> Stay An Awkward 3 Way Handshake

Be Catastrophic>Stay Catastrophic.

Be A Disaster>Stay A Disaster.



They love dancing.  They start doing it as soon as they walk in the room.  I shine a light and they chase it.  They try not to be too sexy.  They do hand solos, knee solos, foot solos, eye solos, they chase their shadows across the space.  One day I play a song, something by Talking Heads, I think, and I tell them they are not allowed to dance.  They skulk around the space full of a desire to  dance.  I tell them they can only dance if they dance as hard as possible and they all decide together when is the right moment.  They go from zero to ten to zero to ten to zero.  Each time they hit zero they are panting.    Waiting impatiently for the next opportunity to dance and being terrible at hiding this intention.  Skulking and panting but still full up with the joy and desire of the Young to dance.



I remember winning and losing.  I remember trap doors, slamming.  I remember the word Time. I remember water in her knees.  I remember dragging on a big black cloak.  I remember staying calm and being saved.  I remember not being able to sit on a chair.  I remember cute hot feet.  I remember putting a flower in her hand.  I remember working so hard to wrangle every cable and hold up every microphone.  I remember a theremin. I remember me and Ash just driving.  I remember things breaking apart.  I remember people stranded on islands.  I remember words on a wall.  I remember ducks and kittens in Space.  I remember the LED glasses. I remember a conga line.




We didn’t touch the words for a whole week.

We lost control.

We bled.

We made a big mess.

We felt cold and bored and frustrated.

We went too far.

We could have hurt someone.

We did some really stupid things.

We followed  fun in stead of logic.

We played games in stead of working.

We started at 10am in stead of 9am.

We kicked boxes and threw shit.

We turned off the lights at every opportunity.

We jumped over tables.

We took the piss out of Shakespeare.

We were always late.

We spent a lot of time lying down with our heads together staring at the ceiling

We watched this and this and this and this in stead of Doctor Who.

We put too many cocks in the slideshow.



We can’t stop you from coming.  The inevitability of your arrival looms like a swarm of birds sweeping in from the side, circling then lining up in perfectly formed rows.

In which case, we promise we will not ignore you.  We will look at you.  We will find our solace in you.  We will ask your permission before we do things.  We will talk to you.  We won’t hurt you.  We will sit next you, especially if you come by yourself.  We welcome you with our deformed, imperfect, mismatched, gangly, sun kissed monster arms to watch our catastrophe.


The Presentation Of My Findings From The First 7500 Days Of My LifeDone In The Interest Of Showing You How To Live Better Lives by Uther Dean BOOK HERE NOW!

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 7.48.58 pmImages by Uther Dean, Nisha Madhan, Forced Entertainment and Andi Crown.


The First 7500 Days Of My Life by Uther Dean

October 5, 2015 |  by  |  Direction & Collaboration, Upcoming  |  Share

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 7.48.58 pm

Young and Hungry 2015 present:

“The Presentation of Findings from My Scientific Survey of the First 7500 Days of My Life, Done in the Interest of Showing You How to Live Better Lives”

Written by Uther Dean, and Directed by Nisha Madhan.

Production Stills

Some people collect stamps, some people play sports, and some people undertake in-depth scientific surveys for each day of their entire lives. Let’s just say that Max Addison doesn’t collect stamps or play sports. The presentation of the findings from Max’s survey, findings that could indeed be literally considered their life’s work, will be a momentous occasion. To not attend such a momentous occasion could easily be construed as oafish or unthinking. Max is certain that you will wish to avoid this pitfall.

Starring: Saraid Cameron, Arlo Gibson, Anthony Crum, Ravi Gurunathan, Andrew Gunn, and Doug Grant.

8.30pm. Mon-Sat.

Direction Assistance / Ash Jones
Set / Christine Urquhart w/ Sarah Kirk, Shiloh Dobie, Lizzie Morris
Sound / Thomas Press
Lighting / Rachel Marlow w/ Jack Dryden & Liam McDonald-Lurch
Costume / Fraser Mildon w/ Tori Manley, Melissa Peacock & Francesca Wilson
AV / Stephen Bain


An Open Letter

March 7, 2014 |  by  |  Uncategorized  |  Share



January 6, 2014 |  by  |  Direction & Collaboration, LIES, Production, Uncategorized, Upcoming  |  Share

Finalist Most Original Production, Auckland Theatre Awards 2014

Theatrescenes Most Memorable Moments  (James Wenley) 2014

Lumiere Reader Best of Auckland Theatre (Sam Brooks) 2014


Production Stills

The Town Centre presents genre-defying, anarchic and party fueled hour in which 4 performers lie, cheat and run gleefully into the face of failure.  LIES is a deliberately unstable world of theatrical discord and pure play.

It breaks every rule of the theatre ….” – Theatreview

“anarchic mayhem with strong performers and a clear sense of a highly rigorous underlying process. This to me was a glimpse of what I associate with a fringe festival” – Chris Jannides, Head of Movement, Toi Whakaari

Performers: Ash Jones/Josh Rutter/Julia Croft/Lara Fischel-Chisholm
Direction/Design: Nisha Madhan/Stephen Bain


Duration 60 minutes


5-13 September at The Basement alongside What Have You Done To Me? and  The Review Project

Click Here to Book Tickets



In Wellington: 27 february – 2 March

At BATS Understudy as part of the 2014 NZ FRINGE FESTIVAL.

VIEW Lorde’s Letter of Support


Supported by Creative NZ

Cowboy Mouth & Love It Up

Production Stills

By The Town Centre.


Cowboy Mouth is a surreal, poetic piece dreamt up by Shepard and Smith in a war of words that lasted for two nights. Every reference in the play is infused with the true character of these two icons and the dynamic of their volatile love affair. Their performance on April 29, 1971 at the American Place Theater is shrouded in mystery and intrigue, with Shepard presenting a double bill of his plays: Back Bog Beast Bait, starring his wife, followed by Cowboy Mouth with Smith. According to his friends, it was “one of the wildest autobiographies he ever produced and one of the most exciting performances they’d ever seen.” However, on the third night, unable to cope with the goldfish effect of playing out his reality on stage, Shepard vanished, forcing the show to close.



Legend has that the fellow playing the Lobster Man bit part in Cowboy Mouth then found himself holding a gun to his head in a puff of smoke with flickering fluorescent lights on his face.  His lobster shell had gone and behind him stood a tall pregnant cosmic matriarch.  Patti was asleep in the bed and Sam had disappeared. During the course of the next 45 minutes he navigated an exstential dilemma: was he a lobster or was he Josh, an actor in a lobster suit?  Who was the matriarch and why was she whispering to him?  Who would help him keep all these planets she kept giving him in orbit?  Or was he in fact, the one who was meant to play Slim in the first place?

Love It Up is an absurdist post-dramtic theatrical adventure inspired by Timothy Leary’s writings about LSD.  The work takes the performers and audience combined on a deconstructed journey through psychadelic imagery, the universe, the poetry of Allen Ginsberg and leaves us with more questions than answers.

In the end it is the audience that decide what’s real and what isn’t, who’s telling the truth and who’s faking it.




Watch Patti Smith’s Advice for the Young



The Town Centre presents a double bill of Cowboy Mouth and Love it Up alongside a feast of live music from independent female artists including 2012 Critics Choice Award Winner Watercolours.
The long-buried theatrical writing of infamous rock ‘n roll matriarch Patti Smith and Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard will  steal the minds of Auckland audiences in September 2014 at Q Loft.
Cowboy Mouth is a take-no-prisoners rock and roll love-romp through the seventies, while its provocative and devised counterpart Love it Up promises a mind-bending, heart-thumping arrival into a landscape of LSD pyschedelia.Originally performed in 1971 at American Place Theatre by Patti and Sam themselves, the play was written in the throes of a “real heavy passionate kind of thing” between the co-authors in the dim light of Patti pre-fame.
(production still above: Ash uses practical lights to light his own monologue)
“…every new generation translates for itself. And it’s up to us to both embrace history, and break it apart. Blow it up even” Patti Smith, Dream of Life.

(production still above: Immersive design.  The lovers take refuge an in inset fantastical booth with practical lighting.  The Q presents version will use this as a starting point for audience seating)

Foul-mouthed and fallen, they’re both as mean as snakes and living in the dream of too many morning-afters. This hazy hyper-reality is the perfect introduction to Love it Up, an experimental choreographic study on the outer thought of LSD. Hold onto your beads and your beginnings to let this beautiful blur of space, light and text fling open your doors of perception.


(Produciton still above: Collective experience.  Lara is lit by audience members.  The design of the solar system around her is carried about by audience member as well.)

“life isn’t some vertical or horizontal line … it’s not neat… we feel and sense and see things simultaneously – walking through the interior of your own mind which is another whole jungle” Patti Smith; Dream of Life


(Production Still Above: Audience participation.  Josh facilitates an enactment of the 9 planets in orbit by enlisted audience members’ help.)

This is your chance to inhabit the verbal and visual acid trip of a lifetime; this double bill is a double-vision, a doubly-troubled, and a double-edged thrust into the world of rock ‘n roll.

DIRECTION: Nisha Madhan LIGHTS: Stephen Bain SET & COSTUME: Lara Fischel-Chisholm

PERFORMERS: Ash Jones, Josephine Stewart-Tewhiu, Josh Rutter, Lara Fischel-Chisholm

WITH MUSIC by Hermione Johnson

Best of Theatre 2012 by Janet McAllister NZ Herald.
Review by Nik Smythe for Theatreview.
Review by Matt Baker for Theatrescenes.
Radio Interview with Charlotte Ryan for BFM.
Radio Interview with Eva Radich for Upbeat, Concert FM.
Preview by Courteney Peters for Gather and Hunt.