On the Couch with Roslyn Oades

Roslyn Oades Arts Review On the CouchWho is Roslyn Oades?
She’s a theatre-maker who’s fascinated by the voice and the distinct ways in which real people speak. She also works as a cartoon voice artist – her all time favourite role being the title character in ABC kids series Tracey McBean. And she’s the mother of a beautiful 10 year-old boy.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
In an alternate reality I could see myself living in the country and working on the land or with my hands in some way. I’ve always enjoyed the simplicity of building or growing practical things. In my current life I spend a lot of time in my head, which feels unhealthy at times. I have a fantasy about making wooden chairs for people one day.

Who inspires you and why?
My art hero at the moment is observational documentary filmmaker, Frederick Wiseman. My work is very inspired by his body of films. Wiseman has an amazing ability to draw your attention to incidental poetry, rhythms and coincidence in everyday life. His work often explores the lives of ‘institutions’. You can learn a lot about the priorities of a society by looking at how they run their institutions and the systems in place to deal with their vulnerable.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Well, I’m very concerned about the legacy of environmental destruction we’re leaving for future generations. If I was in charge I’d start by investing in all possible options for treating the planet with care. I’d love to see the first world commit to reducing throw away culture, excess and greed. To rethink what is ‘enough’.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I love a good road trip! My last big road trip was in Western Australia.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Well in Melbourne’s it’s all about the good coffee and cute little bars – and there are so many quirky, atmospheric, little places to chose from. When I have a special visitor I enjoy figuring out the perfect place to take them, depending on their personality. Brunetti’s is a great place for cake lovers and Mario’s Café and The Supper Club (on the couch in front of the circular window) are at the top of my ‘Melbourne Classics’ list. And The Red Triangle pool hall in Fitzroy is an excellent family-friendly place to go for a lazy game of pool and milkshakes.

What are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished The Lonely City by Olivia Laing, a beautifully written book exploring the inner lives of New York artists and their relationship to the city. Next up, I’m looking forward to diving into City of Crows the latest novel by Chris Womersley.

What are you currently listening to?
Gillian Welsh and Leonard Cohen have been on high rotation over winter – they always warm my soul on a cold night.

Happiness is?
Hanging out with the people I love. I am blessed to have a handful of very dear old friends. These days they are spread across the globe but whenever I catch up with one of them I feel so nourished. I also love walking in forests – nature’s cathedrals. If I could combine both of these things I would definitely be in my happy place.

What does the future hold for you?
I’ve never been a forward planner. As a freelance artist with fingers in lots of pies my usual mode of operation is to drift from opportunity to opportunity as they arise – and each year brings fresh surprises. But I’d love to do more work in film at some stage. The chance to craft an inventive documentary film or animation would be very satisfying…

Presented by Performing Lines, Roslyn has created and directed Hello, Goodbye & Happy Birthday – currently playing at Geelong Performing Arts Centre: until 15 July; before touring to the Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo (18 July); Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre (20 July); Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (22 – 24 July); Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (26 July); and Parramatta’s Riverside Theatre (27 – 29 July).

The tour will then continue onto Caloundra, Surfers Paradise, Darwin, Portland, Mount Gambier, Renmark, Mandurah and Wollongong. For more information and touring schedule, visit: www.performinglines.org.au for details.

Image: Roslyn Oades (supplied)