Wellington Scoop

Downstage: premiere of Jo Randerson’s play

Press Release – Downstage Theatre
World Premiere of Jo Randerson’s Good Night – The End at Downstage
Three Grim Reapers kill time in their dingy staff kitchen, grappling with the usual questions: “Who used my cup? Why is there never enough Milo? Is there anything to look forward to beyond this miserable present?”
‘Does anyone else ever do the dishes in this place? Honestly you guys, it just takes a little bit of effort and this place could be really pleasant.’

Click for big version

Photo: Matt Grace

Add the pressure of a playboy boss who only speaks Italian and an impending Christmas party and it’s no wonder some of them are starting to look for a way out.

Fresh from the unique mind of celebrated writer Jo Randerson (Bruce Mason award winner, New Generation Laureate 2008), Good Night – The End is an existential comedy crackling with the fierce originality that has earned her cult status in theatre and literature alike. Imagine an episode of The Office written by Beckett or Kafka and you’ll be a quarter of the way to appreciating this play’s wild humour and terrifying humanity.

“Her ability to shift from near-realism to humorous neo-gothic and the absolutely absurd makes her a true pioneer of the post-something generation.”
Federico Monsalve, Listener on Jo Randerson

Barbarian Productions has a reputation for theatre that breaks with convention – their last offering was a series of walking tours that won them Most Original Concept at Fringe 2006. Good Night –The End is no exception. It’s not just a play, it’s an experience! This production is Barbarian’s largest-scale effort to date bringing together the talents of a suitably diverse and fascinating team.

For director Andrew Foster (The Raft, Blood Wedding) this production is a reunion, he last worked with Jo Randerson as part of Wellington’s iconic theatre company Trouble. Set designer Sean Coyle (Ranterstantrum, Cherish and Closer) is based in Auckland, while lighting designer Piet Asplet (The Kreutzer, Carnival Hound) is locally renowned. Janet Dunn (ReDunn), designer of boutique, recycled garments is creating the costumes and the sound design is in the hands of Nic McGowan (Two Cars, One Night, Eagle Vs Shark) who was the accompanist for The Cat and the Canary in the recent International Film Festival.

Starring: Jo Randerson, Thomas LaHood, Felicity McDonnell and Aaron Cortesi

Directed by: Andrew Foster Set Design: Sean Coyle
Production Manager: Glenn Ashworth Lighting Design: Piet Asplet
Sound Design: Nic McGowan Costume Design: Janet Dunn
Good Night – The End
Dates: 11 Sep – 3 Oct
Times: 6:30pm Tue-Wed and 8pm Thu-Sat.
Prices: $25 to $45.
Meet the Artists: Tue 15 Sep

Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at (04) 801 6946 or in person at Downstage’s box office. For up-to-date information visit www.downstage.co.nz

Downstage is proudly sponsored by BNZ.

More about Jo Randerson:

Jo Randerson is a unique theatre-maker with extensive experience in comedy, poetry, literature and theatre.

Born in Auckland and growing up in Wellington, Jo majored in Theatre and Film at Victoria University of Wellington, becoming involved as a writer, director and performer in theatre productions for the Victoria University of Wellington’s Student Union’s Drama Club. At the same time she also performed at BATS theatre, Wellington, and appearing on televison as a stand-up comedian. After graduating, she spent a year in Australia working at a rest home before co-founding the theatre group ‘Trouble’ on her return in 1995, with Andrew Foster, Jason Whyte and Jo Smith.

Jo participated in Bill Manhire’s creative writing course at Victoria University in 1996 where she was awarded the Prize for Best Portfolio. With Trouble Theatre, she co-wrote The Girl Who Died, Black Monk, Mouth, The Lead Wait and Bleach (a co-production with Boilerhouse theatre, Scotland). Bleach was part of the 1998 New Zealand Fringe Festival and went to the Edinburgh Festival and the Tramway Festival of site-specific theatre in Glasgow.

Jo is the founder of Barbarian Productions (an independent comic-theatre troupe), whose shows have won Wellington Fringe Best Comedy (2001, 2002) and Most Original Concept (2006), Melbourne Fringe Best Comedy (2003), and Melbourne Comedy Festival Golden Gibbo Award (2004), and have toured independently to Edinburgh, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Norway as well as around New Zealand. Her writing has twice been shortlisted for the coveted International Institute of Modern Letters Prize (2006 and 2008), and has earned her fellowships both nationally and abroad. Jo was Robert Burns Fellow 2001 (Dunedin), Winston Churchill Fellow 2003 (Russia) and she completed a Creative New Zealand/Department of Conservation Wild Creations Residency in 2002 at Cape Kidnappers.

She was also a Billy T James Comedy Award Nominee in 2005.
Jo’s writing includes The Knot, (1998. Wedge Press); The Spit Children, (2000, VUP); and The Keys to Hell, (2004, VUP). Jo has been involved in numerous joint works including The Sojourns of Boy with inaugural Laureate Briar Grace-Smith. She also contributed to a project pairing writers and physicists that resulted in the book Are Angels Okay? (2006, VUP), and presented the feature We Are the Ones We have Been Waiting For on Radio New Zealand in conjunction with the Royal Society. Her most recent projects have been collaborations with Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School and as a curator of My House Surrounded By A Thousand Suns, an exhibition of artists with experience of mental illness and intellectual disability at The New Dowse in 2008.

Jo lives in Wellington with her husband Thomas LaHood and baby Geronimo.


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