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Tonseisha – The Man Who Abandoned the World


Thursday 31 July & Friday 1 August 21.10 – 21.55

Studio Central Saint Martins
Music: Kim B Ashton
Words: Erik Patterson

TONSEISHA is an exploration of grief across time and cultures.

A young Japanese woman is haunted by the loss of two men: her father – whom she barely knew – and cult novelist Richard Brautigan – whom she’s never met.

TONSEISHA is a play written mostly in haiku verse.

Director: Gary Merry
Music Director: Kim B Ashton
Digital Music: Satoshi Date
Producers: Vera Chok, Pippa Koszerek

Philippa Boyle (soprano), Vera Chok, Ilze Ikse (flute), Sean Patterson, Yshani Perinpanayagam (piano), Sophie Rivlin (cello), Austin Spangler, Chris Webb (bass)




Inspired by the life, death and work of Beat writer Richard Brautigan, two-time Emmy-nominated American writer Erik Patterson wrote a play: TONSEISHA. Since 2011, London‐based theatre company saltpeter has drawn together exciting, international artists and technicians from disparate disciplines to use this text as fertile ground for developing not only a new version of the tale, but a new way of creating theatre.

Director Gary Merry and composer Kim B Ashton have cultivated an operatic landscape out of the play. Today’s performance presents two new compositions and additional performers, as part of the creative investigation. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of Richard Brautigan’s death.

A work in progress. Production developed through the Open LAB scheme at Barbican Guildhall and supported by Arts Council England. saltpeter website