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Interview with Eamon Flack

My first theatre experience was… oh  I have a vague memory of being cast as a hippo in primary school, being sick the day of rehearsals, and coming back on the day of performance to find I’d been demoted to a tree. I wore a body stocking. I felt so completely unloved I wanted to wet my pants. But I think the first moment I understood something basic about theatre was watching Bille Brown in  The Judas Kiss at QTC when I was about 19.

If I was a character in a play I’d be…  Horatio, please. He may be my favourite character of them all. Though I often feel like the people in Chekhov’s plays too, Trigorin in the morning, Medvedenko in the afternoon, Vanya on Sundays, Nina sometimes.

I hate theatre when…  the craft’s not there. Please don’t do that. There’s no mystery about the basics.

Playwrights who inspire me… a re naughty, not earnest, full of love, a bit odd, or actually really quite odd, honest, brilliant observers, a bit full of themselves and yet humble, read plays, go to the theatre, write for particular colleagues, and are often not very good at dramaturgy.

The best line that never made it into one of my plays is...  “take your weapon, strike me down, and your journey to the Dark Side will be complete.” True.

My best or worst moment working in the theatre was...  my most recent best moment was watching Rob Menzies find the sweet spot one Saturday morning in rehearsals for The End.

Heroes or villains - whose side are you on…  I like the ones who don’t know which side they’re on themselves: Henry IV, Hamlet, Brutus, Kreon and Antigone and the Chorus and pretty much everyone in Antigone, Uncle Vanya, Trigorin, Roland Henning in Toy Symphony, many others. Richard III kind of bores me, though when I saw Pam Rabe [playing the part in The War of the Roses Part Two] it was thrilling. And I played Pericles once: I thought he was good and heroic, which was dull, and I was no good.

My last big laugh was…  Gareth Davies and Charlie Garber, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Suicide, B Sharp, Dec 09 and March 2010.

My last big whinge was about…  oh my constant big whinge is about Australian content, I think it the best way to put it. So many stories to tell, so few told. I blame resources – there are never enough – but I also think the state of the wider conversation about Australian themes and subjects is pretty dire, really, across all art forms, not just theatre. I’d love for that conversation to happen. One day. Somehow.

The role of theatre in 21st century Australia is…  America’s a good place for Americans to be and theatre’s a good place for theatre people to be and such people, like the poor, are always with us, it’s seems to be fundamental in some way. You bring a large and well-organised group of the species together and soon enough some of them will start to pretend to be each other in public and others will want to watch and before long there’ll be tears or hilarity and on we go. So I reckon we’ll keep doing that until the end and if we don’t do it we’ll still do it, if you know what I mean. In the meantime, it’d be good to have that conversation about Australian themes and subjects...

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