This Is Our Youth

‘A f*ck up with stolen cash. A charismatic drug dealer who knows how to spend it. Throw in a wayward prep-school girl and they’ll find the road to adulthood is paved with betrayal. Less effectual than they think – more sophisticated than their parents realise – they’re out in the world and they’re on their own. Kenneth Lonegan’s seminal snapshot of 80’s America is a tense, voyeuristic expose of an insurgent generation adrift.


A play for anyone who’s ever been young, hopeful and completely ill-equipped.’

designer notes

tiou mood board

No Wave music was a movement in response to the agitated music of New Wave music, that was more focused on texture and was somewhat nihilistic in it’s view, once quoted as saying ‘There are no new waves, there is only the ocean…’

– The abstraction of culture and political activism through art (namedly the Graffitti art movement) in response to ‘Radical Chic’ and the predominently white art world based in Soho. Jean – Michel Basquiat and Al Diaz created a graffiti tag called SAMO derived from a conversation where they were smoking pot (as they did a lot) smoking the ‘same old shit’ and the slang SAMO was the drug that would be used to cure all problems. Barbara Kruger was another influence and reflected media culture at the time, consumerism, and was very graphic in aesthetic.

– A pile of Vertigo comics are used in the set (publications included ‘Watchmen’ and ‘V for Vendetta’) featuring political satire, speculative fiction, creation of stories directly going against strict comic authority laws at the time

– Photography by Scot Sothern (who influenced Terry Richardson) wanted to use photography to reveal something of the subject/ person in his images, but stopped making money as ‘people don’t want to know they look like an asshole’ so went on to photograph prostitutes ie. on 42nd Street and 8th Avenue.

Design Provocation

Katherine Hamnett who created big graphic shirts such as ‘CHOOSE LIFE’ and Paul Marley who created the iconic ‘FRANKIE SAY RELAX’ was a starting point for an exercise i created for the actors, to connect with their character and write their own slogans. By adding acid wash Levis, converse and subtle influences from Vivienne Westwood’s ‘reclaiming through customization’ when Jessica arrives with her scarlet lips and leather skirt, she is just alien enough to the world without flaunting her presence, returning later decidedly dressed down in a denim mini skirt.

‘Ben Henson’s direction is solid, even if the shifts between beats are felt a little abruptly. His integration of Christine Urquhart’s genius set is seamless, and the closest the play comes to expressing an idea. The steel bars that surround them make it look like some demented piece of modern art; watching these monsters is like watching animals tear at each other in a zoo.’

– Sam Brooks, The Pantograph Punch

‘Commendable too is the staging of the show (by Christine Urquhart), with a split audience and grungy scaffold-encased set in the middle. It feels almost claustrophobic and reflects the feel of a play that’s all about young people trying to rebel and break out from the norms of their parents’ generation.’

– Natalie Ridle, Keeping Up With NZ

‘The semi-realistic set by Christine Urquhart achieves an effective intimacy, creating a tiny New York apartment in a limited space.’

– Nathan Joe, The Lumière Reader 

‘Somewhat disappointingly, the design refuses to give us a cartoon pastiche of the Reagan years – there are no leg warmers or Rubik’s Cubes…’

– Janet McAllister, The New Zealand Herald

Directior Benjamin Henson
Lighting Designer Peter Davison
Sound Designer Thomas Press
Producer David Sutherland
Venue The Basement Theatre, Auckland
Photographer Josh Griggs | Adam Baines