On the Couch with Justin Stewart Cotta

Arts Review On the Couch Justin Stewart CottaWho is Justin Stewart Cotta?
At times a self-centred Leo, raised alternately by mum and grandparents, a musician and an actor, possessor of a law degree though no idea why, Collingwood fan, supporter of gay marriage, vehemently opposes arts funding cuts, disgusted with treatment of our indigenous brothers and sisters, wants teachers to be paid more, loves Led Zeppelin, loves Liszt, wishes cigarettes were healthy, partial to orange snack foods (gross, I know), questioning the fact he eats meat, has a spiritual side while disavowing from any form of organised religion.

What would you do differently to what you do now?     
I would fret less and give more. If I couldn’t be an actor or singer-songwriter, I would be a good therapist, though I would most likely fall deeply in love with a patient. Oops!

Who inspires you and why?  
I know he’s not “cool” to many these days, especially after sneaking that so-so album into all of our phones recently, but Bono saved my life as a teenager. Tragic and inspiring to see a young boy lose his mother and not use it as an excuse to go off the rails. Where male anguish would typically have given way to anger/violence, Bono sang in her honour. There is so much beautiful blood on early U2 records… Boy, October, War…   “I can’t change the world, but I can change the world in me…”

What would you do to make a difference in the world?  
Create characters and songs that heal, if even for just a moment, to raise social awareness and to touch people on a deep personal level. To bring out the best in others. To humanise at every opportunity where the corporations and military industrial complex attempt to dehumanise and divide us.  The lousy fucks!!

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The Blue Mountains…  Makes me feel at once alive, chill and energised.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?  
Oooh… That’s a dead heat between Bronte to Bondi walk, and Opera House/Harbour bridge! Sheer magnificence on both counts. Oh oh! And Maya Da Dhaba on Cleveland… Heavenly curry…  Mmmm…  Yum!

What are you currently reading?
Book: Eating Animals (Jonathan Safran Foer)

What are you currently listening to?
Listening to Soko – I’ll kill her.

Happiness is?
Happiness? Being in the moment. Riding my Ducati. Cooking soup for my grandparents.

What does the future hold for you?
Immediate future would be to learn my lines for A Steady Rain and to not suck in it!!  Beyond that… Umm…  Keep staying in the actual moment and letting the future be the illusion that it is.

Justin Stewart Cotta is a two time Sydney Theatre Award nominee (Best Actor – Syncopation and The Removalists) who has worked for many of the major theatre companies, most recently North By Northwest and Glengarry Glen Ross for MTC, Dream Home for Ensemble Theatre Company, and the award-winning The Floating World for Griffin. He voiced a character in Happy Feet 2, is currently filming for the upcoming season of ABC series The Code and recently received rave reviews for his performance in the title role of the New Theatre’s Sweeney Todd.

Justin will be appearing in A Steady Rain at the Old Fitz Theatre: 22 September – 17 October 2015. For more information, visit: www.oldfitztheatre.com for details.

Image: Justin Stewart Cotta – photo by Lachlan Woods Photography