On the Couch with Dion Mills

Dion Mills Arts Review On the CouchWho is Dion Mills?
An actor based in Melbourne, currently playing Leonard in Artefact Theatre Co’s production of Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar: a comedy at Chapel Off Chapel in Prahran. But I’m also a member of the Red Stitch Actors Theatre ensemble – and have been since Christmas Eve 2002. Before that I was a feckless member of the White African diaspora who floated into Fremantle in December 1983. And who, in January 1995, then 30, took a bus to Melbourne.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Be a lawyer, maybe? Not that I have the brains or application. And, failing that, maybe not to have run away from NIDA in 1987 (and not because NIDA wasn’t wonderful, but because I still had delusions that I might manage to do something more, well, actual than just pretending to be other people’s creations). I guess I still I had a few last bridges to burn, but once they were burnt I was able to accept (well, to hope) that maybe the worthiest think I could do was loan my breath to to the creations of talented playwrights.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Lessen expectations? But maybe that’s because – at time of birth – I was unjustly privileged (and would never have been allowed into the walled suburb that is Australia if I hadn’t been). I’m no optimist. At school my kinder nicknames included Eeyore and Dying Swan.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The City Wine Shop on Spring Street. It’s the epitome of storied Melbourne, at least as manifest in my fevered provincial imagination while back in the West. So much of significance (to me) has happened there over the last decade or so. I love being there with people I love. Each person deepens its patina.

What are you currently reading?
Three gifts at once: Edmund White’s Our Young Man; Eimear McBride’s The Lesser Bohemians; and The Years with Ross by James Thurber.

What are you currently listening to?
Right now? PBS News Hour on SBS. But mostly I flick between Radio National and ABC FM (not that I’m in the least musical, so maybe that’s why).

Happiness is?
Doing something that tricks you into thinking there’s a reason to be? Trying to do justice to a fine script, for example.

What does the future hold for you?
My next gig is two tiny (blink-and-you-miss) roles in a Red Stitch production of Annie Baker’s The Flick, which Sam Strong has programmed at Queensland Theatre next February. After that? Who knows. More or less what I have now?

Dion is currently appearing in Artefact Theatre Co‘s production of Seminar: a comedy at Chapel Off Chapel until 26 November 2016. For more information, visit: www.chapeloffchapel.com.au for details.

Image: Dion Mills