On the Couch with Mark Pritchard

Mark Pritchard Arts Review On the CouchWho is Mark Pritchard?
I’m a dramaturg and a director, and my big love is new local writing and theatre-making. Making something genuinely new, adventurous and innovative is one of the biggest challenges, but that’s why it’s the most important. I’m the resident dramaturg for Malthouse Theatre, and am also part of the New Working Group, who are all about making new independent local work.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I love what I do, I love wrestling with big ideas and creating artistic experiences that challenge and enrich audiences. If I wasn’t doing this I’d have a lot of pent up questions and theories, so I’d probably run a whiskey bar and have long arguments with people about how absurd the world is.

Who inspires you and why?
The artists I get to work with are the people who inspire me, because they’ve gotta be mad to be here. Everything in our economy says ‘don’t be a writer’, ‘don’t make theatre’, and yet they have this relentless passion for doing something so ephemeral and complicated and naïve. The obsession with theatre is contagious, and I love it so much because it draws all these brilliant people into a room and promises them nothing except shared space and time, and impossible questions.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Become a teacher.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Tasmania. The people there are ridiculously friendly, and MONA is like Mecca.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
I always take people to Claypots, either St Kilda or South Melbourne, because I’m obsessed with it. The food is so damn delicious, the fish is fresh and they have beer on tap. It’s got brilliant atmosphere and they’re one of the great restaurants that is all about community.

What are you currently reading?
Mac Wellman’s The Difficulty of Crossing a Field. He’s one of the most radical living writers and his essay of speculations on theatre is really stunning. “Knowing is touch, yes, but the unknown also happens, has ways, forms shapes, and yes, even the habit, of a certain kind of tenderness”.

What are you currently listening to?
The soundtrack to Transparent – its just beautiful. Check out Alice Boman’s track, Waiting (PAL Remix).

Happiness is?
Laying on a warm rock in the sun.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m writing my Masters exegesis, I’m heading to NYC for a few weeks, and I’ve got so much I want to do at Malthouse and with the New Working Group. 2016 is gonna be a big year!

Mark is currently directing the premiere season of Louris van de Geer’s Triumph at fortyfivedownstairs from 19 February 2016. For more information, visit: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com for details.

Image: Mark Pritchard (supplied)