On the Couch with Rebecca Meston

Rebecca Meston photo by Morgan SetteWho is Rebecca Meston
I am a writer and director based on Kaurna Yarta. I also work at Nexus Arts, do a bit of teaching and a lot of mumming. My background is in devising original work, plus mask theatre, roving performance and clown.

I started out making shows at PACT Theatre in Sydney, while studying Performance Studies and English Literature. I’ve since been taught by artists such as Bryony Kimmings and Marie Dumont, and worked with wonders like Daniel Evans and Hew Parham. This has inspired my work.

I have a long-term working relationship with Meanjin-based dramaturg Saffron Benner. We’ve made many shows together in the past. I am premiering my new play ‘Hits’ at the Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, in July, along with other key collaborators.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I would work as a primary school librarian, or failing that, as a radio DJ. I never really got over hearing Helen Razer on Triple J in 1992 and falling head over heels in love with her, and the way her voice prized open my world. I know I’m showing my age, but radio still holds so much power for me.

Who inspires you and why?
My magical children and partner. After that, artists who are kind, passionate, unique and curious. Such as Roz Hervey, Astrid Pill, SJ Norman, Sarah Walker, Roslyn Oades and Daniel Evans – all making meaningful work, particularly now in such harrowing times. Through my day job at Nexus, Simi Vuata, Jingwei Bu and Nicky Tsz Tung Li have similarly blown my mind. Plus when I grow up I want to be Miriam Margolyes.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Being genuinely kind, and caring about how you can make a difference to someone’s day. I’m always thinking of ways to convince people to stop eating meat and drive smaller cars (or not drive at all), but in true hypocrisy-of-humans-style, I’m usually making that speech from my car.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
India. I never imagined I’d fall as hard as I did. The people, the cities, the theatre, fashion, architecture and FOOD. Followed closely by Sydney, which is a city that forever holds my heart due to the life I once had there, and some people I loved who are no longer with us.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I would take them to the Exeter because it’s the best pub in the world, the Adelaide Hills (particularly Ashton, Uraidla, Summertown, Verdun, Balhannah, Woodside) as it’s exquisite with so many treats along the way, and my local library as I go there every week with my children and it brings endless pleasure.

What are you currently reading?
I don’t by Clementine Ford, plus I’m re-reading August: Osage County – a tragicomedy play by Tracy Letts.

What are you currently listening to?
I adore the podcasts Marieke Hardy Is Going To Die and Josh Earl’s Four Burners, in addition to my weekly Bang On with Myf Warhurst and Zan Rowe. Plus my playlist for Hits – which is crucial for the show. It features a range of bangers, from Sonic Youth, the Breeders and PJ Harvey through to Dire Straits, 10cc and Itch-E & Scratch-E. Half the play is set at the Big Day Out 1993, so I’m trying to be as loyal to the period as possible.

Happiness is?
I’m a big fan of Hamlet’s line “There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Nonetheless, hanging out with my little boy and girl, and being the lucky mum I am, is when my heart is happiest.

What does the future hold for you?
After Hits I have two new projects on the boil, including a collaboration via InSPACE with Eliza Lovell, Astrid Pill and Valerie Berry.

Rebecca is the writer, director and co-producer of HITS – a new Australian play that will be presented in the Space Theatre – Adelaide Festival Centre: 3 – 6 July 2024. For more information, visit: www.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au for details.

Image: Rebecca Meston – photo by Morgan Sette