On the Couch with Caleb Lewis

Photo by Matt NettheimWho is Caleb Lewis? 
Yeah I get that a lot.

What would you do differently to what you do now?  
If I weren’t writing plays I think I’d still be storytelling, whether that’s writing for the page or screen.  Alternatively I do have these fantasies of throwing Sydney in and leading this rustic stripped back life somewhere.  This ambition is hampered somewhat by the undeniable reality that I have no practical skills whatsoever.

Who inspires you and why?
At the moment comedians, Alexis Dubus and Phil Burgers (Dr Brown).  Both are artists who travel the world, touring continuously, developing their work.  I am also inspired by anyone who has written a novel (a beast I’ve yet to grapple with).  Basically anyone who is good at something I’d like to do.  That includes authors, illustrators and strangely handymen.

What would you do to make a difference in the world? 
Realistically, probably not Theatre.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Last year I travelled through Europe for four and a half months.  The highlights were a (too brief) week in Iceland and a two week 250km solo hike through Germany’s Black Forest.  Next I’d like to walk the Camino De Santiago and also I’m hanging to get to India at some point.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
The Cliff walk from Bondi to Bronte is pretty spectacular.  The Glebe Markets are terrific.  And at night we’d go bar-hopping in Newtown and Surry Hills.

What are you currently reading?
Caribou Island by David Vann. I read Vann’s Legend of a Suicide last year and I was really impressed by the emotion of the story and the muscularity of the language.

What are you currently listening to?
Two people arguing next to me.  She wants him to tell her why he is upset with her and he keeps insisting nothing is wrong.  Actually this is really great …

Happiness is?
Elusive.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m off to Adelaide next teaching stand up comedy at Flinders University and then it’s on to Perth for a development of my new play with Black Swan.  Comedy then Tragedy.  Swings and Roundabouts.  That’s the way life is.

Caleb Lewis is a multi-award-winning playwright whose work has been produced locally and internationally. His works include Nailed; Dogfall; Death in Bowengabbie, Rust and Bone; Aleksander and the Robot Maid and Clinchfield (winner of the inaugural Richard Burton Award for new plays in 2010).

Lewis was mentored by Nick Enright and Edward Albee. He has twice been shortlisted for the Griffin award and is the winner of an Inscription Award, the Mitch Mathews Award and an AWGIE (Australian Writer’s Guild Award), and turned down the Company B Phiilip Parsons Award in 2010 as a protest against the lack of female writers and directors in the company’s 2010 mainstage season.

Current projects include a play about Godzilla and first love, a play about a sock, a play about honey bees and commissions for Bell Shakespeare, Black Swan and State Theatre Company of South Australia.

His play, Death in Bowengabbie is being presented at the La Mama Theatre as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 3 – 13 April. For more information, visit: www.lamama.com.au or www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.

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