Nick Jones is a playwright created by Jollyship the Whizbang, a well-regarded pirate puppet show featuring rock music. He penned Rockberry: The Last One-Man Show (a play), in what is arguably (if you don't count Shakespeare) the only production in The Pretentious Festival to be written by a fictional character. The all-too real Peter J. Cook directs. "Nick" recently answered our questionnaire regarding his show, which opens on Saturday June 9.
What exactly makes your show so damn pretentious anyway?
The difference between my show and the other shows is that where others try, I simply am. Everything that happens is part of an energy that is constantly flowing out of me. The music you hear, the lighting you see, the actors when they speak, and the way they move, this is all part of my dream which I hope to share with you. But it is not a dream in the sense of a fantasy. It is the dream of showing Life as it truly is on stage. Because that's never been done before, and that is why I am very proud of this work. I think it's my second favorite work in my oeuvre.
Name some obscure influences on your work – extra points for unpronounceability.
When I look back at different times in my life, they seem as if lived by different people. These other people are my heroes.
The late Roland Barthes once wrote "For the theatre one needs long arms; it is better to have them too long than too short. An artiste with short arms can never, never make a fine gesture." Explicate.
I suppose because then they couldn't tap the ash off their cigarette into the ashtray on the coffeetable while still leaning back supinely in the armchair with a bored expression while giving up their time for interviews to buffoons.
In what ways do you plan on alienating your audience? Cite an intentionally opaque or confusing moment within your production.
I will cite my favorite moment which we have cut from the production. A video camera feeding live to the giant projection screen pans slowly across the audience, then hones in on the fattest person in the room. We zoom in tight, then leave the camera on him while we start roasting weenies on stage. The show becomes entirely about food. We do not mention the audience member, nor acknowledge him, but leave his giant fat face on the screen for the remainder of the show. If he tries to change seats, there is a camera person to follow him. If he leaves the theater, we follow him out. The show is not about him, and it is not for him. It is about Questioning.
Which other Pretentious Festival show will you declare as your sworn ideological enemy, and why?
I am sure to detest much at this festival. I have caught a distinct whiff of middlebrow from nearly every participant. And I should add: if you are spending your time reading this blog I truly pity you.
Please give us the gist of the acceptance speech you would use were you to win one of our Pretentious Awards.
I would keep it simple. I would just read a list of everyone who has ever doubted me, or looked like they were doubting me, and then burn the list, hold the trophy in the air, and laugh. And then spit on the ground, maybe. I think the strongest statements are the simplest.