On the Couch with Daniel Keene

Daniel Keene ONCWho is Daniel Keene?
A playwright – the writer of Cho Cho.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Probably work a little less than I do.  And remember to get rich.

Who inspires you and why?
Personally, my wife and children.  I think they’re very honest and brave in everything they do.  As far as my work goes, the list of writers who inspire me is too long.  But my favourite writers have been my favourites for years.  They include Samuel Beckett, Anton Chekhov, Ursula Le Guin, James Kelman, Anne Carson, Yves Bonnefoy, John Berger etc etc.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d find some way to breed a better kind of politician.  I mean people who weren’t so morally bankrupt as the majority of those we have now seem to be.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I don’t go on holidays.  But when I go to Paris, even if it is to work, I feel as if I am on holidays.  I love that city.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Melbourne’s public gardens are beautiful places, from small, old fashioned ones like those at Williamstown, to the Royal Botanic Gardens, which are remarkable.  It’s possible to feel a real sense of peace and ease in these places.  And they belong to everyone.

What are you currently reading?
Homer’s Iliad, the crime novels of Derek Raymond, and Satantango by Laszlo Krasznahorkai.

What are you currently listening to?
I listen to lots of different things all the time.  At the moment I’m listening to Nacht Und Traume by Schubert and the cello music of John Tavener.  But I’m also listening to a lot of Tom Waits!

Happiness is?
My family, always.

What does the future hold for you?
I’ll have to wait and see, won’t I?

Daniel Keene has written for the theatre since 1979, and his plays have been performed widely throughout Australia and overseas, especially in France. His plays, which include All Souls, Cho Cho San, Silent Partner, Low, Terminus, The Architect’s Walk and The Ninth Moon, have received numerous literary awards.

He has won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Drama twice, the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Drama three times, the South Australian Literary Award for Drama, the Wal Cherry Play of the Year Award and the Sumner Locke Elliot Prize (New York).

His collaboration with director Ariette Taylor – the Keene/Taylor Theatre Project – was critically acclaimed both locally and overseas, winning the Kenneth Myer Medallion for the Performing Arts.

Daniel’s work has been presented at the Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide International Arts Festivals.  Since 2000, over 75 productions of his work have been presented in Europe, predominately in France.

Daniel first created Cho Cho San in the mid-1980s, touring Australia and China to critical acclaim. This bold reimagining of Cho Cho will be performed at Arts Centre Melbourne from 2 – 6 October 2013. For more information, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au for details.

Image: Daniel Keene