On the Couch with Gary Abrahams

Gary-Abrahams-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Gary Abrahams?
An angst ridden theatre artist, with a love for intense conversations fuelled by dirty martinis and too much champagne. Also someone who gets easily hooked on reality TV shows!

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Cut back on the dirty martinis and champagne. And reality TV shows.

Who inspires you and why?
I guess I’m as equally inspired by the great achievers and leaders of the world as I am by the countless humans who just make their way through each day with grace and dignity, and without letting go of hope. It’s possible to be inspired by anyone if you stop long enough to listen to their story.

I think when you’re younger you really do get inspired by those idols that have gone before you, and that seem to have been destined for some kind of magical brilliance that will never be yours. But as you get older you see the wizard behind the curtain more and more. The mystery of it all fades. The only thing worth getting inspired by is hard work, and the ability to get on with it all without being defeated by the countless obstacles that will come your way.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Free and equal education for children and adults alike. Wrestling back our tertiary institutions from the clutches of capitalism. One of the greatest crimes of modernity is the morphing of our educational institutions into business enterprises. We need to return to a mindset that understands that the study of the arts and humanities is absolutely fundamental to a burgeoning and healthy society, and is the only way that empathy can be fostered. Without empathy we do not progress. It is only through the arts and humanities that we can begin to understand what everything else is for.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Trekking through the various game reserves of southern Africa. Observing the raw, primal, natural animal world at work grounds me like nothing else.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
There’s this little bar, down an alley way, off a smaller street in the city. You know it? Tiny little place, but over two levels. You just turn left at the rubbish bins, then follow the alley round a bit, then it’s the door before you hit the dead end. Great cocktails, best dumplings in Melbourne, sometimes they have live music playing. But no-one knows about it, so you can usually find a table 🙂

What are you currently reading?
Jews Don’t Count by David Baddiel (which I wish I could get everyone to read, but people just roll their eyes when I tell them about it), White Girls by Hilton Als (a collection of essays and musings by a black, queer writer and philosopher) and Honeybee by Craig Silvey.

What are you currently listening to?
Uk rap, hip-hop and dirty street-girl pop. All in aid of working on the sound design for Iphigenia in Splott. It’s not to my taste at all and it’s seriously stuffing up my Spotify algorithms!

Happiness is?
Elusive and only ever momentary. Not the destination, but the surprising bits on the journey you remember most.

What does the future hold for you?
Trying to navigate a creative life in a neo-liberal world.

Gary directs the Victorian premiere of Gary Owen’s Iphigenia in Splott – which will be presented at the Red Stitch Theatre from 19 June – 18 July 2021. For more information, visit: www.redstitch.net for details.

Image: Gary Abrahams (supplied)