On the Couch with Ash Flanders

Ash Flanders oncWho is Ash Flanders?
Someone who refuses to speak about himself in the third person because that’s what sociopaths do – and I definitely don’t want people to know Ash Flanders is one of those. I’m a gay writer and performer that lives in Melbourne and loves to make people laugh and think, usually in that order.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I wouldn’t change anything right now and I’d be a jerk to suggest that. I’ve been very lucky to have people believe there is value in what I do, and I’ve gotten to work with incredibly talented people who I’m lucky to call my friends. Life’s good maaaaaaate.

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by lots of things but usually it’s anyone that has the courage to do their own thing no matter the cost (as long as they’re not hurting anyone – I’m looking at you, Manson). This goes for fantastic queers like Quentin Crisp, Kenneth Williams and John Waters to smart and funny ladies like Fran Lebowitz, Sandra Bernhard and Judge Judy. Oh, I guess it’s not lots of things, it’s basically just old gays and Jewish Women. Fine by me!

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d make Rupaul’s Drag Race, Judge Judy and The Oprah Winfrey Show compulsory viewing in schools. I legitimately think this would make a world of kinder, smarter, open-hearted people. And who needs Geography anyway?

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anywhere in the world where I feel safe enough to have a huge fight with my boyfriend is fine by me.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’d probably do something lame like take them to the theatre which of course is a cruel thing to do. But the great thing about the theatre is that afterwards you go to a bar to either celebrate the life-changing thing you just saw, or – more often than not – rage-drink until you forget you ever went.

What are you currently reading?
I just finished Prick Up Your Ears, John Lahr’s fantastic biography of Joe Orton – a wonderful, rageful, hyper-sexual 60’s London queer who wrote very clever and scathing farces before being bludgeoned to death by his jealous lover Kenneth. It combined my usual interests: gays, true crime, theatre and biography. Also, John’s latest book on Tennessee Williams is wonderful too, even though we don’t get much true crime in that one – unless you count that strange lobotomy!

What are you currently listening to?
Dolly Parton. Always Dolly Parton.

Happiness is?
Dolly Parton. Always Dolly Parton.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully I can keep treading water in this business as long as they’ll have me. It’s all I want to do and – more importantly – it’s all I can do. I once had a stranger come up to me at a party just to tell me the coffee I’d made him two years earlier was the worst thing he’d ever tasted. So I’m not joking when I say I’m completely useless in the real world.

Ash Flanders is one half of theatre-making duo, Sisters Grimm. Theatre credits as writer/performer include: Little Mercy (STC), The Sovereign Wife (MTC NEON), Fat Camp, Bumtown, Cellblock Booty and Mommie & The Minister (Adelaide and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals), Negative Energy Inc. (Midsumma Festival), Special Victim (Feast Festival), and Calpurnia Descending (STC / Malthouse Theatre).

Theatre credits as performer include: Hedda Gabler (Belvoir), Psycho Beach Party (Little Ones Theatre), The Golden Dragon (MTC), A Black Joy (fortyfivedownstairs), Tame (Malthouse Theatre), and I Love You, Bro (Malthouse Theatre / The Famous Spiegeltent). His short film, The Divine Decadence of Cheesecake toured the USA after screening at the Frameline Film Festival.

In 2014, Ash won the Green Room Award for Best Male Performer for The Sovereign Wife. In 2015, Ash has been nominated for 2 Green Room Awards for Writing & Artiste for Special Victim.

Ash is appearing in Meme Girls at the Malthouse Theatre until 2 May 2015. For more information, visit: www.malthousetheatre.com.au for details.

Image: Ash Flanders