Director puts best foot forward

19:32, Feb 11 2013
Emma Schwass
FOOT ON THE LINE: Emma Schwass, director of the play Erogenous Zones with a sketch of the tattoo, Sharon Salmon will do for real if the play sells 1200 or more tickets.

A Nelson-based director is putting her body on the line to promote the upcoming production of a risqué play.

Emma Schwass has recruited five actors to feature in Erogenous Zones by Welsh playwright Frank Vickery.

She has challenged the cast to sell at least 1200 tickets, and if they do, she'll get the words "Erogenous Zones" tattooed on her foot.

The play features five characters - Michael, Andrew, Lesley, Allison, and Tom, who are caught up in a quintuple love entanglement.

Michael is homosexual and in love with his flatmate, Andrew, who is slightly confused about his sexuality.

Andrew is having a fling with Lesley, who has been married to Tom for "way too long".


Tom is having a long-term affair with Allison, who is Michael's best friend.

Schwass grew up in Nelson, and completed a diploma in film and television at the Hagley Theatre Company in Christchurch in 2003.

She took a break from acting to travel and develop her other passion, youth work, and her role in Drinking Habits with Nelson Repertory Theatre in 2011 was the first time she had been on a stage in seven years.

Schwass said her tattoo stunt was the result of a joke with her flatmate, a designer, who thought she was "a little bit obsessed" with the play. He also despised the font she had chosen to promote it.

"He said; ‘If you love the font so much, why don't you just get it tattooed on your foot?'. It has to have ‘Erogenous Zones' in that font - Bradley Hand," she said.

"It has to be incorporated into a tattoo that I want on my foot for the rest of my life. It needs to be something that I can wear within my professional job."

Schwass, who is in the final year of a social work degree at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, already has three small tattoos on her body, which signify key moments in her life.

"I think if this play gets 1200 people in the theatre, it's going to be something that I'm going to be proud of and want to remember. It's an achievable goal if Nelson gets behind it," she said.

Sharon Tattoo tattooist Sharon Salmon said Schwass' potential tattoo wasn't the most unusual request she had had from a customer.

The others were "probably not fit for media", apart from the time she tattooed a Christchurch radio host live on air.

Schwass said the Erogenous Zones cast included well-known Nelson actors, such as Hugh Neill and Cameron West, and some fresh talent.

"There are a few intense scenes, but they're done with conviction and integrity. It's definitely not smutty," she said.