“I am tougher than old shoes, more magnanimous than God, crueller than Pol Pot, more charged than Ali. I have been doubted, denied and passed by. Come dawn I’ll rise again, refreshed but aged, ready but weary, committed but confused. At sea ... I hope I don’t drown.”

You are cordially invited to join the Ashwell Family for a special Celebration.

A good night. A fable. A portent. A bedtime poem for our time.

Where: A house. An island ... manicured. A tree, a tower, a cenotaph, well, sort of ... it’s not quite finished yet ...

Inspired by the dark children’s books of Maurice Sendak and Shaun Tan, this original work is a tale for grown-ups born into the great century of unravelling. A tale for those feeling the symptoms of a world gone febrile, our dreams ignored, our anxiety made spectacle and our loneliness kept private. 

A tale for the overwhelmed who remain overwhelmed.

Devised byToi Whakaari MTA graduate and senior tutor Aaron Cortesi (Tom Keeper Passes, Sydney Bridge Upside Down), Toi director Christian Penny (Caucasian Chalk Circle, Penumbra), Jonathan Price (Wheeler’s Luck, Don Juan), Toi graduate Paddy Carroll (The Book of Everything, Layman) and the Toi Whakaari Year 2 Actors.

Final realised production practice by design student Ivo Deliyski & management students Brynne Tasker-Poland & Zosia Lis.

Staging, production & costumes by students from Year 2 Costume, and Year 1 & 2 Entertainment Technology & Management.

Production Photography

by Philip Merry

Production Credits


Chris Alosio, Samuel Austin, Raai Badeeu, Luke Baker, Conor Cameron, Logan Cole, Katrina George, Lutz Hamm, Ruby Love, Richard MacDonald, Summer Millet, Huia Monro, Acacia O’Connor, Ariaana Osbourne, Jack Parker, Olivia Parker, Jess Quilter, Tess Sullivan, Puawai Winterburn, Joe Witkowski, Sophie Wright.


Aaron Cortesi: Director/Writer
Christian Penny: Director/Writer
Jonathan Price: Director/Writer
Patrick Carroll: Writer
Hayley Sproull: Musical Arrangement & Direction
Lisa Maule: Producer
Adrian Watts: Production Coordinator

Nathan McKendry: Lighting Designer
Chris Winter: Sound Designer
Charley Draper: AV Designer
Owen McCarthy: Marketing Design

Zosia Lis: Stage Manager
Emily Brady: Props Stage Manager
Liv Chan: Deputy Stage Manager
Nicole Alexander: Assistant Stage Manager
Holly Mercer: Assistant Stage Manager
Ashleigh Moor: Assistant Stage Manager
Dallas Rees: Assistant Stage Manager
Brynne Tasker-Poland: Production Manager
Chantelle Watts: Assistant Production Manager / Operator

Ivo Deliyski: Set Designer
Taylor Joynes: Set Construction Manager
Haami Wiremu: Design Assistant
Tommy Berridge: Set Construction
Molly-Rose Chetwin-Kelly: Set Construction
William Smith: Set Construction
Ofelia Haislund: Wardrobe Supervisor
Khrissie Rhodes: Wardrobe Supervisor
Cohen Stephens: Lighting Assistant / Operator
Josh Wood: Sound Assistant / Operator

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