Every show I've ever done, some of the set dressing ends up coming from my apartment. Half of JOLLYSHIP THE WHIZ-BANG came from my living room. I had hoped with THE COWARD to avoid placing my personal possessions on stage, where they risk being broken or lost in the tumult of performance. Instead, this time it's my grandma's things that are being used.

My grandmother's name was Mercy Preston. She was British, but lived in the South of France. She ended up there after her first marriage ended, after living a few years in New Jersey. I think she preferred the South of France to New Jersey. My dad lived there for part of his childhood, but then somehow ended up in Alaska. That's where I was born. Every couple of years we would visit my grandmother, and this is when I'd get to see the rest of my extended family, because most of them refused to visit us in Alaska. 

I remember my grandmother very fondly. She was very literate and always encouraged me in my namby-pamby artistic endeavors. She told me to read James Joyce's Ulysses when I was 11 but I couldn't do it. Near the end of her life, she gave me a book given to her grandfather, who was a theater manager in London, by George Bernard Shaw. She told me I was her last hope that our family would produce an artist, even though her daughter was a professional painter (this was confusing). 

In her will, she left me a collection of brass statuettes from India, and a "biosphere," which is basically a globe, except incredibly inaccurate. The biosphere never reached me (and I think I saw it in my uncle's garage) but I did receive the brass statuettes. Among these are the beautiful miniature lizards and elephant which are now part of the set dressing for THE COWARD.

{NOBODY STEAL THESE LIZARDS! I am very attached to them. The only reason I am allowing them to be used in this show is because I like the idea of my grandmother being a part of it . But if anyone steals them, they risk being HAUNTED by the ghost of my grandma. And I will be very sad, also}

Question for discussion:

Will my uncle be upset with me for insinuating that he stole the biosphere?

(Nick Jones is the author of THE COWARD.)