On the Couch with Meg Taranto and Elliot Wood

AAR MICF24 Pass the ParcellWho is Meg Taranto and Elliot Wood?
We are Meg Taranto (imaginary friend, performer, writer, director and facilitator) and Elliot Wood (green tree frog, performer, theatre maker) we are friends turned collaborators turned friendly collaborators. We share a love of rambunctious comedy and play that cares about the world it is responding to. We sincerely welcome you to our party.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
M: If I had to do something differently I think I’d be a midwife… or just generally speaking I would like to be more assertive (if that’s okay with you?) part of me would also love to be a chimpanzee or an orangutan… I would at least love to do what Andy Serkis does.

E: When I was growing up I wanted to be a water physicalist which is ironic because I get really seasick and am terrible at physics but it’s weird and it’s also really cool and unique… kind of like me.

Who inspires you and why?
E: (immediately, with intensity) Björk. Björk inspires me. I am also really inspired by Frankie McNair she’s hilarious and creates really wonderful, silly work. Also Tara Boom – I’ve screamed every time she’s on stage – and Maude Davey, watching her work and the way she encourages other people is very inspiring.

M: I am super inspired by all the facilitators I get to work with who make for and with children and young people. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the folks at House of Muchness, led by Alex Walker. She is a masterclass in making a space extremely fun and accessible. Nature, always – everything comes from green spaces. Also the work and teaching of Giovanni Fusetti, the visual art and horticultural practise of my dear friend Paris McBride and my co-artistic director of Three Bags Fool – Solomon Rumble. He has a beautiful practice that I learn from all the time.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
M: Ceasefire in Gaza, now.

E: Yes.

M: Maybe we do a macro and a micro.

E: I would get rid of every car so everybody had to take public transport AND I would make public transport free, because it’s for the public DAMMIT.

M: Yes, very true. I would ban cages of all kinds – gather them up the world over and set them on fire like the spindles in sleeping beauty. I also would mandate putting bugs outside. Because if you care about the small lives you’ll care about the big ones too.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
E: Your mum’s house… She makes the best brownies…

M: Alicudi – the tiny island my family come from in Italy makes me feel peaceful at a cellular level. But also, I find the high country in Victoria searingly beautiful, particularly Myrtleford and its surrounds.

E: Japan… But also a small place called Totaranuiin – the South Island of New Zealand, it’s really mountainous but also and has beautiful golden beaches. Super lush, very rainforesty. Beautiful. Or Wanãka, also in New Zealand, for similar reasons. New Zealand is generally the peak location to feel free.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
M: I would take them to see the triceratops at the Melbourne Museum because I think it is SPINE TINGLING, it makes me dizzy,-I find it so awesome. And I would take them to get a Julia’s mushroom pizza at Bar Romantica.

E: The tram system? I love Cabinet Bar – they make the best Limoncello drinks and Gertrude Street is really nice.

What are you currently reading?
E: I’m reading Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler – it’s set in 2025 about the end of the world and climate change so… nice and light for me at the moment.

M: I just started work at a book shop and that lead me to pick up a new novel called Butter by Asako Yuzuki. I’m only 56 pages in but I can’t stop thinking about it.

What are you currently listening to?

M: ONE thing Elliot, ONE – I have to go to work in a minute.

E: I just found a new album called Play with the Changes by Rochelle Jordan, other than that, Wisecrack by Haley Blais on repeat.

M: I’m listening to Elliot listening to Wisecrack on repeat… but I’m also listening Vulture Prince by Arooj Aftab a lot. And Disco hits as always.

Happiness is?
M: Play and presence woven into as many facets of life as possible.

E: A right, not a privilege EVERYONE SHOULD BE HAPPY ALL THE TIME, NO ROOM FOR SORROW. I don’t know, I feel like I’m still working out the metrics of real happiness at the moment.

What does the future hold for you?
E: Hundreds of thousands of dollars, a huge fleet of adoring fans… gold…

M: An unlikely animal friend that loves me so much and I haven’t made them be my friend, they just decided on their own accord…

E: Two tickets to the live action Moana…

M: Many peaceful Sunday mornings, I hope…

E: And lots of collaborations with Meg Taranto.

M: YES! lots of collaborations with Elliot Wood.

Meg and Elliot are co-creators of and performers in Pass the Parcel! The Game! The Show! – which will be presented at Tasma Terrace, as part of the 2024 Melbourne International Comedy Festival: 27 March – 7 April. For more information, visit: www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.

Image: Meg Taranto and Elliot Wood (supplied)