On the Couch with Liviu Monsted

Liviu-Monsted-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Liviu Monsted?
I’m your typical Sydney indie theatre artist. I write, I direct, I produce the shows that the main stage don’t want to produce and I have a day job to pay for the thing we call living. I started out as an actor in high school and wrote my first play at 15 for what was then called Fast+Fresh. Since I didn’t know any directors at the time, I directed the piece myself and found myself directing everything that I wrote from then on.

Year Twelve wasn’t stressful enough so I decided co-create a theatre company that I still run to this day, called Mon Sans Productions, which has produced 8 original works, featuring talking letterboxes, kidnapped children, psychologists that talk to the dead, curse words with magical properties and the survival of homeless people.

I am drawn to high concept works. Most of my plays start out as comedies that upon development turn into melancholic swims in existential dredge feeding upon concepts of identity, pursuing happiness, class separation and loss and grief. I’m a humanist in both my outlook on life and in the goals of the works I choose to write or direct but I am also a pessimist, which makes for an enjoyably depressing contradiction and some good one liners.

Finally, I believe that art can make a difference when it acknowledges the systems that enforce our societal struggles and the human experiences that create our commonalities, hence why the story of Juanita Nielsen took my interest when writing the next Deadhouse Show.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Anything, if I cared nearly enough about those things as much as I do about the arts.

Who inspires you and why?
People who are genuine.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Fund schools to teach empathy and autonomy, regulate corporations to distribute their wealth, provide a living wage to every human being and change the definition of success to mean equality and not “to be better than another.”

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anything cruise related (free food).

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Any independent theatre show currently playing. If you want to know a local culture, watch the local artists do their thing.

What are you currently reading?
Time Enough for Love.

What are you currently listening to?
The relentless thoughts in my head.

Happiness is?
A difficult pursuit for many.

What does the future hold for you?
My next major project is the latest season of Deadhouse – featuring two of my plays: Razor Gang Wars and Juanita Nielsen: The Final Days – they will be running from the 31 August to 14 October. I am also running the 2024 Short+Sweet Sydney Festival as festival director and hope to create a program that will benefit all involved.

Liviu is the Writer, Producer and Director of Razor Gang Wars and Juanita Nielsen: The Final Days at The Crypt – St. James Church, Sydney from 31 August – 14 October 2023. For more information, visit: www.deadhouse.com.au for details.

Image: Liviu Monsted (supplied)