On the Couch with Mary Anne Butler

Mary Anne Butler Arts Review On the CouchWho is Mary Anne Butler?
A Darwin based playwright with a love of: family, good friends, dogs, sparkling wine and great reading matter.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Write novels.

Who inspires you and why?
Personally: my family, friends and Darwin’s close-knit social community. Professionally: Sarah Ruhl, Andrew Bovell, Jenny Kemp, Pablo Neruda, Cormac McCarthy and Darwin’s close-knit theatre and broader arts community.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Introduce empathy and compassion as school subjects and political portfolios in their own right.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Ireland. I spent three months there last year, seeing 26 theatre shows at the Dublin Fringe and Theatre Festivals, and writing in-between shows. I visited some out of the way little towns like Dingle and Kilkenny. It was incredible, and I was so, so happy there. They have an incredibly strong literary culture, and people are lovely, funny, open and generous. I just want to go back every year and do the same again.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I live across the road from the beach, and whenever friends come to stay we end up on a rug at the edge of the Arafura Sea watching the sunset with a stack of fresh seafood and some bottles of icy-cold sparkling wine. It’s a tough life, but someone has to sustain the NT’s wine and seafood industries. I see that as my vital role.

What are you currently reading?
I tend to have a lot of books on the go at once, and dip in and out depending on my research needs / state of mind. Piled up next to my bed right now are: Pablo Neruda’s Extravagaria; A Country Too Far: Writings on Asylum Seekers; The Burial by Courtney Collins; Conor McPherson’s The Night Alive and Other Plays; and a dog-eared copy of Dante’s Inferno. I need a week off just to read them all!

What are you currently listening to?
I’m hooked on The National at the moment.

Happiness is?
Family. Friends. Dogs. Sparkling wine. World Peace. A play that’s working well. Those moments when the work is soaring, when my craft is struggling to keep up with my imagination and I just have to trust that the two are going to hang together eventually, and that magic will somehow happen. I love those moments best of all.

What does the future hold for you?
Writing more plays, I hope. I love the actual process of writing. It keeps me afloat.

Mary Anne’s award-winning play, Broken will receive its Sydney premiere at Darlinghurst Theatre Company at the Eternity Playhouse: 3 – 28 August 2016. For more information, visit: www.darlinghursttheatre.com for details.

Image: Mary Anne Butler