Playing with my friend, Andrew Jones
This page is in memory of Andrew Jones – Nasty Shadow from 1999-2014
Andrew passed on May 31/2014 – our thoughts are with him
Please share your memories or thoughts in the comments section below.
Andrew Scott Jones
SHOWS / ROLES – 1999-2014
Andrew, or Mr. Jones as I like to call him, has been a friend and fellow theatrical creator since my family and I first moved to Fredericton. I don’t use the word “friend” lightly, citing maybe 2-3 other actual friends in my life, but Andrew definitely fits the bill. A man you can count on to give his all for you and/or the greater whole of a project. He truly is a man of the theatre. Hardest working actor I have had the pleasure to play with.
First time I met Andrew we were both auditioning for a student minor project show, and we were both cast but I had to drop-out so I only have a brief memory of us at the auditions together in the fall of ’98. In the summer of 1999 Nasty Shadows Theatre Company was born and Andrew was involved that very first summer in what was certainly one of his best and understated roles: ‘Peter’ in Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story. Under the direction of Robert Moore, Andrew shined in a very subtle way that exploded in that flurry of energy ‘Peter’ bursts with in the final moments of the play – being killed by Andrew was a pleasure each performance. We ran this show on three separate runs between Aug-Nov ’99, in Fredericton and Saint John, and so we spent a considerable amount of time together on our first staged endeavour. I knew I’d found a friend and theatrical cohort.
Next in the Shadow world, Andrew joined us for our production of Rougher Magic and went as far as we could ask him to go: He played ‘Miranda #2’,a middle-aged woman with daddy-issues, and he nailed it. I can still picture him in that tight special white light, admiring himself in the mirror of a compact or gazing up beyond the mirror introspectively as he leaned on a trunk in his short skirt, ripped nylons, blouse, wig, shoes, the whole bit. He was beautifully ugly as he danced for his father, ‘Prospero’, and always created an emotionally charged moment.
As ‘Lucky’ in Beckett’s Waiting For Godot, Andrew stood with the best of them in a role that tests an actor’s limits of both control and abandon – Mr. Jones more than passed. Crawling over his person, jumping on his back, under his legs while he ranted ‘Lucky’s’ wild speech. We laughed repeatedly for years when either of us would utter, “the skull the skull the skull the skull in Connemara”, remembering the fun we had each night we played that scene. I remember after our last performance we all knew we’d just had a magical night that comes very infrequently in the theatre – Andrew and I shared that feeling together.
Next up, Andrew turned his attention to Stage Managing a couple of MacIvor one-acts and working sound during the run. He, Nicholas Cole, and I spent many hours alone in the D’Avry theatre working the sound cues and running the show. Andrew was not overly comfortable in this role, but he devoted the time needed because he knew the Company needed him – he’s that kind of guy.
Andrew then shared his talents back on stage in Pinter’s classic The Dumb Waiter, revising the role again later in 2010. Partnering Andrew and Matt worked very well, and Andrew’s smaller stature played nicely against Matt’s overbearing size. This worked here and in the next production. The three of us spent countless hours mapping our way through this play, and I know this was one of Andrew’s strongest shows – especially our 2nd run a couple years after our first approach. I could see Andrew grow as an actor over the course of our work with this play since we did different things with each separate production and Andrew took advantage of that chance to really explore the script. He was always willing to try just about any approach to a scene knowing we would hit the mark with one of them.
Geography Of A Horse Dreamer found Andrew in one of his most fun and fitting roles in the Shadow world, affecting a swanky gangster accent and swaggering across the stage as a cartoonish thug. ‘Santee’ was the gangster Andrew was born to play and he had so much fun with that part! Andrew, Matt, Nick and I had such a good time in the rehearsal room during this production, and it was a real pleasure to grow as a group and sift through that play altogether. I know all 4 of us treasured the time spent in The Drama Room for this show, and Andrew was so strong and comfortable in his portrayal of ‘Santee’ that it led the group to hit their grooves as well. Always hoped to restage this show at some point …
‘Tyndareus’ was a drunken ass who mistreated women, and basically anyone else who crossed his path. We could not find a role more *unlike* Andrew than we did in the beautifully horrific nightmare of Orestes 2.1. I know he didn’t like the person of the character, but he nailed it night after night as we despised listening to his rants and hatred. Andrew was nothing but loving and caring in everything he did, so it was certainly strange to see him as this character – but that’s the testament to his talent. He worked hard for the results he got on stage, and I know I pushed him with this one and he always hit a point where everything just jived. Sometimes it was early in the process, and sometimes it was later, but once he hit that feeling he could flush it out and use it with each performance. That’s craft. Andrew knew you had to work for what happened on stage, and so he did.
After re-staging The Dumb Waiter, Andrew then played a couple of very different characters within the same show, Tooth of Crime (2nd Dance). ‘Ruido Ran’, a pseudo-jivin’ white DJ, and ‘Doc’, a smalltown-ish doctor character stuck in the midst of a rock’n’roll fantasy. Andrew’s love of dancing shined as he grooved across the stage floor as ‘Ruido Ran’.
Then, ‘Doc’ became an image of seeing him as an older man, as he shared a wonderfully fascinating story. Having directed Andrew in his past few roles, it was a real treat to be back on stage with him, face to face, for this show. I always felt Andrew was an actor I could trust completely because his aim was pure and egoless. And listening to ‘Doc’ share that story is something I won’t soon forget.
Andrew’s final role as a Shadow had him playing a corrupt and weasely ‘Robert Walpole’ in the fictional-historic tale of The Art of Success. Mr. Jones basically bared it all for the Company in this one – those in the front row I’m sure got quite an eye-full! This character took Andrew out of his comfort zone a bit with the range of extremes I was asking him to hit in the various scenes. He was skeptical at first, but as I trusted him, he trusted me as well and before long we had a wacky and crazy ‘Walpole’ who was the life of the show with both his weak-kneed times in service of the Queen and his villainous rampage while out on the town. It was very fun to see him love Liz’s foot with such gusto, and then turn to threaten the very life of that foot. Doubling in a smaller role as well, the ‘Gaoler‘, we got to hear Andrew’s love of the cockney accent on stage. Priceless.
Being Andrew’s friend since I’ve moved to Fredericton has been one of the highlights of living in this town. He has been a friend not only to me, but to my wife and daughter – he was the alternate contact for Jena during her school days if they couldn’t reach us. Agreeing to that possible burden showed us how much of a friend he was and he was happy to be that guy. He meant a lot to all of us. I’m deeply saddened by his passing, but I know we have many stories to share about Mr. Jones in the spirit of he who loved to share stories.
One year for Xmas, in our first Fredericton apartment, he gave us a wall-mounting coatrack – he was tired of throwing his coat on the kitchen chair, I think. We took that coatrack with us when we moved into our house, and we still hang our coats on it. I think of him often each time I walk in the door and hang my coat.
Thanks for playing with us on and off stage, Andrew. We miss you.
PS: This is one of my favourite shots of Andrew in action.
A SEASON IN MEMORY OF A SHADOW – 2014/15
It is with extreme (albeit sorrowful) gratitude that we announce the following gift of funding, in memory our friend and unseen Shadow, Andrew Jones …