On the Couch with Maria Theodorakis

Maria-Theodorakis-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Maria Theodorakis?
I am an actor currently in rehearsals for the Malthouse play, This is Living, playing the wonderful Jo – a passionate academic, dear friend and epicurean of fine food, wine and cannabis. I am also a writer, director, teacher, mother, lover, friend, and avid New York Times mini crossword doer.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Nothing, I love what I do. Telling stories and bringing characters to life is a joy, and I am so grateful to be able to do that. More time to devote to everything in my life would be nice. Or I’d be a perfumer.

Who inspires you and why?
People – the close people in my life and those with whom I have momentary exchanges who are confident in their skin and generous with their personalities. Other women in my life also inspire me with their successes and vulnerabilities, making me a better woman: my daughters, mother, and chick friends.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
This is not a unique idea, but I would love to redistribute the wealth in the world. It fills me with righteous indignation that so few have so much and so many have to struggle. I would start by dealing with the ridiculous housing situation in Melbourne and guarantee that people had comfortable homes without the terror of being unable to pay their rent or mortgages, especially for women and children. Then I’d move on to the rest of the country and world.

Favourite holiday destination?
Crete. This is where my family are from in Greece, and its mountain terrain and beaches are stunning.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The penguins at Phillip Island because penguins! Young or old, it’s magical to experience seeing them coming out of the water and waddling to their homes. My parents took visitors to it when I was young, and now I carry on the tradition.

What are you currently reading?
When working on a project – play, tv or film – I can’t read any other stories or be in any other narrative world. When I’m not on a project, I like to read essays. I am eager to get back to reading Jane Gilmore’s Fixed It, Margaret Atwood’s Burning Questions and Yearbook by Seth Rogen. My seventeen-year-old daughter has recently discovered my Joan Didion and Camille Paglia books, so I get to reexperience snippets as she reads out sections, which is a delight.

What are you currently listening to?
Listening to music is my greatest artistic pleasure. Though I am a terrible music snob, I have guilty pleasures, but I will not divulge them here. Currently, I am listening to the following artists and their latest albums, then jumping back into their back catalogue: Christine and the Queens, Kanye West, Lana Del Rey, The Lemon Twigs, and Everything But the Girl. I also regularly go back to these albums: Solange’s A Seat at the Table, Radiohead’s In Rainbows, Portishead’s Dummy and Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Part 2.

Happiness is?
Happiness is watching my daughters meet life with curiosity, humour and love. Great family and friends who are loving and supportive. Working on passion projects that touch people with comedy or pathos. Eating a wonderful main meal that still leaves room to devour a sticky date pudding.

What does the future hold for you?
More of what I’m doing but with more time to do it. I am doing another play towards the end of the year, Life of Byron, where I play all the women in Byron’s life. I love multi-roles, so I’m looking forward to that challenge and fun.

Maria stars as Jo in the Malthouse Theatre production, This Is Living – which plays in the Merlyn Theatre from 7 July 2023. For more information, visit: www.malthousetheatre.com.au for details.

Image: Maria Theodorakis (supplied)