New role for Sur­vivor NZ cham­pion


No man is an is­land, as Avi Duckor-Jones well knows.

Af­ter win­ning this year’s Sur­vivor New Zealand, he’s re­turned to his love of the theatre with an orig­i­nal two-man play set on an is­land re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fa­cil­ity.

On Dry Land fo­cuses on an older, long-stand­ing re­hab at­tendee and a younger ar­rival to the is­land.

Duckor-Jones was on a boat around Wai­heke Is­land when some­one pointed out Ro­toroa Is­land to him and told him a lit­tle about its his­tory. The is­land was once used as a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre for ad­dicts.

He found the idea of ad­dicts be­ing shipped off and dumped on an is­land an in­ter­est­ing one and de­cided to write a play around it.

‘‘Be­ing con­fined on an is­land, these two are forced to face them­selves,’’ Duckor-Jones said.

‘‘A big theme through­out the play is con­trol - are the char­ac­ters in con­trol of them­selves? Is one char­ac­ter con­trol­ling the other?’’

Join­ing him on stage was fel­low ac­tor John Mar­wick, tak­ing on the role of Bruce, the older char­ac­ter.

Mar­wick said there was an ex­tra level of ex­cite­ment that came with a world pre­miere.

‘‘We have no idea how this is go­ing to go, there’s no bench­mark,’’ he said.

He hoped in­stead the pair would be able to hear some feed­back from the crowd for their four-day long run.

For Duckor-Jones, this would be his de­but as an ac­tor and writer com­bined.

‘‘I think there’s a lot of pres- sure. Usu­ally you have com­plete trust in the text you’re work­ing on, be­cause it’s Shake­speare.’’

The nerves were start­ing to flut­ter ahead of open­ing night, but that wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing.

‘‘When you’ve got those nerves fizzing, the sparks fly on stage,’’ Duckor-Jones said.

This isn’t the first time Mar­wick and Duckor-Jones have played op­po­site each other ei­ther. The pair starred in A Life in the Theatre in 2013, a two-man play chart­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween a vet­eran ac­tor and an up-and­com­ing star.

On Dry Land

* plays Novem­ber 14 to 18 at the Mu­ri­tai School Hall, East­bourne. Tick­ets start at $15 and are avail­able from Rona Gallery or at

Left: Dry­ing out is no easy task for ac­tors John Mar­wick, left, and Avi Duckor-Jones as they play re­cov­er­ing ad­dicts in a new play.

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