On the Couch with Janine Watson

Janine Watson Arts Review On the CouchWho is Janine Watson?

What would you do differently to what you do now?
My suspicion is that I would be a more highly functioning human if I committed to a daily meditation practice. See above.

Who inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by the artists who are working on this show. I love them. They’re funny, very talented, committed and self-sacrificing. A couple of them bought me dinner. I’m also inspired by the directors who gave me the confidence to do so by example. And I’m enamoured by Isabelle Huppert’s capacity for truth and for not giving a shit what people think – I strive for that as an actor.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
When there is so so much to be done be conscious, be vigilant, be active – show up in solidarity, listen without being reactive. Keep fostering awareness. Be a conduit for empathy.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I have loved every place I’ve ever been. So I have to say right now Moscow – we walked down a wide snowy street to the magnificent entrance to Gorky Park, on a quiet bright December morning… Stopping at the ice skating park and soaring around the windy paths past cafes and stores and stopping for a coffee watching locals whizz by. And the Christmas markets in Red Square. There’s a perfect time for mulled wine in Russia and that time is 10am.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Oh god I don’t know! The deck of my apartment? It’s lovely since we put the fake lawn out there. And we got a super cheap wooden outdoor setting. Plus it’s good anytime of day. The National Gallery of NSW. Poor Tom’s Gin Distillery. Or a beach perhaps? When my 6 year old nephew came to stay we went to Coogee Beach and he dug a very deep hole in the sand then stood in it. That was a pretty good day.

What are you currently reading?
I’m two thirds of the way through The Little Friend by Donna Tartt – a Southern Gothic murder mystery set in Mississippi, which is indirect stimulus for Crimes of the Heart, keeping me in the same environment the play is set in. And I keep skimming random pages of the brilliant A Director Prepares by Anne Bogart – just to see if I am, indeed, a director who is prepared.

What are you currently listening to?
Right now it’s the rain. It’s 2.30am and it’s pouring and there’s no other sound. Perfect. And I always listen to ABC Classic FM in the car because it fosters sanity.

Happiness is?
Not a destination or a goal. I read an article recently that deeply questioned society’s focus on achieving ‘happiness’. It said striving for it can make people feel like they’ve failed if their life doesn’t reflect certain ideals of what happiness is supposed to look like. The article suggested the word ‘wellbeing’ instead, because it’s equalising – it can be measured in the attainment of basic needs and is therefore not exclusive. I am fed. I am watered. I have a place to sleep.

What does the future hold for you?
Bed. And I might get a massage on Thursday.

Janine has directed Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart, currently playing at the Old Fitz Theatre until 8 April 2017. For more information, visit: www.redlineproductions.com.au for details.

Image: Janine Watson (supplied)