On the Couch with Ben Prendergast

Ben PrendergastWho is Ben Prendergast?
Actor, entrepreneur, father. Dodgeballer. I’m an ensemble member at Red Stitch Actors Theatre, and erstwhile work in Film/TV. I’m currently doing a show called NSFW for Red Stitch Theatre.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’m happy with my ways and means, I’m much more principally focused than I have been in the past. If I were to change something, I’d simply live somewhere else where my accent opened doors. I’d always create though, that’s a given.

Who inspires you and why?
Just about anyone I’ve ever worked with has inspired me in one way or another. More than anything though I’ll tear up watching someone who was clearly born to do something do it at its peak. An athlete, a singer, a dancer, a mother. All of us are called, I really believe that, but watching someone respond with god-like alacrity gives me shivers.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Act. I don’t mean to an audience or camera. I mean really responding to a situational crisis, no matter the size. An ignorance on a bus, a hurt animal, an elder needing help, a dude with his hands full needing an open door, a cause needing a voice. Enough actions of kindness and we have ourselves a movement.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
California. In so many ways it represents freedom, opportunity, progressive thinking, and it’s only 3 hours from New York.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Somehow we always end up at the Supper Inn/Supper Club combo, followed by a random rooftop or apartment somewhere. So the pieced-together memories go: Drunken drunken chicken and Tsing Dao, chocolate covered almonds with embarrassingly expensive Shiraz, someone buying a cigar on a dare, and then unprintable hijinks. I’m describing here the nights where it’s not just American Horror Story on the couch with my girl.

What are you currently reading?
Focus by Daniel Goleman and Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger. I always have two on the go, and at the moment I’m on a non-fiction bent. The Arnie one is a cracking read, I had no idea he was only 5’1, they’re always smaller than you think right?

What are you currently listening to?
Oh I hate music taste questions. As a musician I find that so exposing, like asking which is your favourite child (I have two, but I love them uniquely). Let’s just say I keep an ear to the ground over at Pitchfork.com, I play and sing every day, but if you need a confession, ok, Blur’s 13 is in my recently played list.

Happiness is?
Relative. And fleeting. And probably to do with finding meaning in your life, a person, or a thing to do. When I’m happy, time slows down, I do very little. I usually smile and make a lip-smacking sound. There you are, happiness is epitomized by the sound your face makes when it breaks into a smile.

What does the future hold for you?
I’ve had my life-trials, but I think my friends would tell you I’m a pretty positive and driven fella, so I’ll always just be working my butt off making good things. I don’t think there’s any substitute for hard work, and if I’m moving an audience to think, to feel, I’m doing my job and the rest takes care of itself. If you were interviewing me in 10 years time, I hope we’d be on a bigger boat though.

Ben Prendergast joined the Red Stitch ensemble in 2013 after appearances in The Pride and Midsummer for the company in 2012. A native Melbournian, Ben started his performance life as an indie musician, before the worlds of Theatre, Film and TV beckoned.

Most recently Ben has appeared in the feature films Predestination (Ethan Hawke), The Last Dance, and TV shows The Frontier (NBC), The Dr Blake Mysteries, and Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries. Ben recently appeared in Straight for Red Stitch and also developing a TV series.

Ben is currently appearing Lucy Kirkwood’s NSFW for Red Stitch, playing to 21 December 2013. For more information, visit: www.redstitch.net for details.

Image: Ben Prendergast