On the Couch with Paul English

Paul-English-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Paul English?
A journeyman actor – as my old friend Reg Evans used to describe himself.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Remember those lessons learnt that I always forget. Prioritise. Leave parties earlier.

Who inspires you and why?
People who think for themselves and don’t just line up with received opinion. For many years, Daniel Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. They have shown how playing music can be a powerful force for understanding and connection. Many of my colleagues inspire me – first among them, Helen Morse, whose gift of going to the heart of a piece and expressing what seems inexpressible I have witnessed for many years.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Get rid of Ideology. All sorts. It’s a dangerous thing. Globally apply the three rules of string quartet playing: listen, listen, and thirdly, listen (see Barenboim above). Too much talking, not enough listening.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I’d like to return to Ireland and get to know it more. It’s where most of my ancestors came from.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
To see shows in two of the best little spaces in Melbourne – Fortyfive Downstairs in Flinders Lane and The Lawler Studio in Southbank. To walk in Fitzroy Gardens and sit beneath the long-leaved Indian pine and the weeping myrtle.

What are you currently reading?
My script of Death of a Salesman, and when I can, dipping into Robert Conquest’s Reflections on a Ravaged Century.

What are you currently listening to?
Piano music by Elena Kats-Chernin, Gerald Finzi’s beautiful Eclogue and Dirk Bogarde reading his own memoirs (a master story-teller).

Happiness is?
Being in a good show that speaks to both actors and audience – that shared experience. Tending my little avocado plants. And sugarless dark chocolate.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully, to continue to be involved in interesting, varied and inspiring work.

Paul stars as Willy Loman in Hearth Theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s heartbreaking masterpiece, Death of a Salesman, at fortyfivedownstairs: 3 – 27 February 2022. For more information, visit: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com for details.

Image: Paul English (supplied)