On the Couch with Simon Burke

Simon Burke AAR On the CouchWho is Simon Burke?
That’s between me and my shrink!

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I think I probably would be in politics. I kind of have been tangentially over the years, especially during my 10 years as President of Actors Equity, but my nerdish fascination in the workings of government, combined with my faith in the idea changing things incrementally for the greater good, would have put me in the right headspace I think.

Who inspires you and why?
The millions of people in the US (particularly women) who are standing up to Donald Trump and his disgusting enablers. For the same reason, I’m kind of obsessed with Rachel Maddow and listen to her TV program on podcast every day. And ditto the guys from Pod Save America – Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor. And I’m utterly inspired by the two young actors I’m working with in this play – Wil King and Guy Simon – they remind me every day that it’s our job to be real and raw and brave.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Have more women leaders, in my industry and in politics particularly, but everywhere.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
We happened upon a tiny Greek island called Symi about 10 years ago and go there whenever we can. Give me a pebbly beach, that deep deep blue ocean, a single taverna with a lone goat and I’m a happy man.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why? 
The little cafe at Redleaf Pool in Sydney on a weekday when there’s no one there. It’s the picture that paints the perfection that is my city.

What are you currently reading? 
Fire and Fury by Michael Wolf (who isn’t?!) and still trying to finish Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life – my Kindle has had it stuck on 94% for the past two years. I can’t bear to end it.

What are you currently listening to?
Jet’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl – several times a day at the moment, as it’s the opening of our play Strangers in Between. And the just released cast recording of the wondrous Muriel’s Wedding.

Happiness is?
My partner Peter, my house, our beautiful cat Erik, the two nightmare new kittens Stuart and Campbell, lots of great food and wine and endless hours of amazing television stuff to get through.

What does the future hold for you?
More of the above hopefully.

Simon stars in Tommy Murphy’s play, Strangers in Between – playing at fortyfivedownstairs as part of the Midsumma Festival until 11 February; before heading to the Seymour Centre from 14 February as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Image: Simon Burke (supplied)