On the Couch with Jake Stewart

Jake Stewart Arts Review On the CouchWho is Jake Stewart?
Ergh, he’s like, he’s like a playwright guy, and he’s in his twenties, and he’s trying to be happy and helpful and more assertive generally. He studied Writing for Performance at NIDA and he likes country music and sequels and he runs a production company called Kissing Booth with his pal Lindsay Templeton.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Being a hyper-romantic idiot really helps with these sorts of questions, which is why I’ll say that if you gave me a farm to own and operate, I’d have a pretty good time. Like, I’d employ a reliable troupe of mismatched outdoorsy types who would help take care of the animals, and a significant portion of my time would be devoted to interrupting heated arguments while on horseback and inviting local heartthrobs over for tea, but yeah, farm life. Give me a farm.

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by the unpopularly passionate, and the confidently, organically odd. In artists especially, I hope to be counted among those who aren’t afraid of their own voice, and who stand proudly with their ideals and beliefs in their pockets. I want to be the starter of very deliberate, hungry fires. I want to talk about love all the time. I wanna be like Patrick White, and Sarah Kane, and Todd Solondz, and Mike Birbiglia, and Maria Bamford, and my parents.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
One of the things that keeps me writing plays is the desire to help people feel less alone. If we’re talkin’ differences that I think I can personally bring to the world, I wanna make the art that I needed when I was growing up, and the art that I need now. I wanna change the world by making the sort of art that people can heal their broken hearts with.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Mate, holidays are terrifying. Airports and spending heaps of money and the pressure to have fun are like, three of the worst things that exist. But hey, the ten days I spent in New York a few years ago number among the best in my stupid life, so let’s say there.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I would just Google something in a panic, and then rely on sarcasm and conversation quality to alleviate the inevitable disappointment.

What are you currently reading?
I’m chipping away at the Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom at the moment, but that answer makes me sound like a psychopath, so let’s go with “I’m currently trying to get through all of Pinter’s works but I’m also slowly realising that I might hate Pinter” – which is also sadly true.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m currently wallowing in the wonderfulness of the new Bleachers album, while intermittently trying to force myself to like Lorde’s new one.

Happiness is?
My housemate told me I looked content yesterday and it genuinely terrified me. So yeah, shockingly I don’t have an eloquent definition for you. I think that happiness, for me at least, exists in the pursuit of helping other people find theirs. I think it’s even just lurking in that moment when you see in somebody’s eyes that vulnerable trust that exists just before you make them smile. I think my happiness is always gonna be outside of me. And like, maybe a lot of it is further from me than I suspect. I dunno. Chicken tastes good. Maybe it’s chicken.

What does the future hold for you?
Golly. Well, thinking too distantly into the future is scary and also reserved for gypsies, so let’s just limit things to the coming months. A bunch more theatre will happen. I’m in a cabaret this week, which is a thing. I need to fix the heater in my house because we’re like, gonna get frostbite. A play of mine is getting produced in Sydney real soon, so I gotta go up and get to know the talented geniuses behind that. Likely a romantic trainwreck is around the corner, and I also need to change my phone wallpaper because it’s currently a photo of a statue of Dionysus and that fact is profoundly embarrassing.

Kissing Booth’s production of Send Nudes can be seen at The Butterfly Club: 4 – 9 July 2017. For more information, visit: www.thebutterflyclub.com or www.kissingboothproductions.com for details.

Image: Jake Stewart