On the Couch with Steve Le Marquand

Steve Le Marquand oncWho is Steve Le Marquand?
Father, husband, brother, actor, gardener, bleeding-heart activist and cricket tragic. Not necessarily in that order.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’ve always wanted to be a long-distance freight train driver. The idea of watching the Nullarbor Plain drift past over a three day period appeals to me immensely. Sadly, you need to be a qualified engineer – so that pretty much rules me out!

Who inspires you and why?
Bob Brown and Christine Milne, who established the Australian Greens as a viable political party. The Greens seem to be the only political entity in Australia who gives a damn about the stuff that is actually important in our lives today: GLBT rights and marriage equality, climate change, sustainable energy, economic and social equality and justice, refugees/asylum seekers, human rights, foreign aid, gambling/pokie reform, indigenous rights, arts and culture, drug reform, etc. I think Bob and Christine and have shown immense strength and courage in taking on the major parties and their donor corporations in their race to the bottom on the issues mentioned above.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
At the risk of being highly offensive to a lot of people, I’d like to see a decrease in the number of people signing up to the Big Three (Abrahamic) religions. I don’t mean totally eradicating religion, but simply giving people more/other/better options. I find the Government’s School’s Chaplaincy Program (now in lieu of school counsellors) particularly damaging and I strongly believe the richest religious organisations should be taxed like other big corporations. Organised religion has become utterly corrupted and is quite obviously the number one cause of unrest and conflict on the planet. I think sharing doubt brings humans together – while believers seem to fight other believers over a shade of difference. To quote Tom Robbins: “To practice a religion can be great – to believe in one, disastrous”. Having said that, I believe in personal spirituality, meditation and the Universe as boss (maybe…).

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The Kimberley region of far North West Australia. When I was a young man I travelled the country on a motorbike and found myself spending most of my time in the Kimberley. I worked on cattle stations and rockmelon farms and lived with a remote indigenous community for a time. I saw and experienced things I didn’t believe possible. The landscape is unspeakably beautiful and the towns have a unique blend of cultures and people.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
As we live on the Central Coast of NSW we like to show folks around our local area. Terrific beaches, wildlife sanctuaries and some great pubs and restaurants make it an ideal place to have friends visit.

What are you currently reading?
Every birthday my wife Pippa buys me an annual subscription to the International edition of the Guardian newspaper. Each night after our daughter Charlie has gone to bed, I run a bath, lie in it and read for half an hour. This way it takes exactly one week for me to get through each (soggy) edition. Otherwise I read a lot of cricket books, with Gideon Haigh and William McInnes being my favourite writers on the sport.

What are you currently listening to?
The Frozen soundtrack seems to be on constant rotation in our household! Otherwise I’m listening to The Rolling Stones (the Mick Taylor period mostly – Sticky Fingers, Let It Bleed, Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out), AC/DC, Gomez, Even, Blossom Dearie, Beck, White Stripes, You Am I, Eels, Black Keys and Josh Rouse.

Happiness is?
Watching all 35 hours of a cricket Test match, uninterrupted. To me a Test match is the ultimate theatre. The slow-burn start, the ebbs and flows, twists and turns, finishing with the climactic final hour. If T20 is the fast food of cricket, then a Test match is a five-course, degustation feast!

What does the future hold for you?
I don’t know – and I’m not too fussed to be honest. I’ve spent the last ten years or so doing all I can to try and just live in the present – which means not dwelling on the past and not fantasizing about the future. As the old Zen joke goes : “How do you make God laugh? Make a plan!” But as a quick plug, I have two films coming out this year – One Eyed Girl (which just won the Jury Prize at the Austin Film Festival) and Broke (about an ex footy star who has lost all his money to the pokies). So, if you only see two films this year…

Steve Le Marquand graduated from Theatre Nepean (University of Western Sydney) in 1992. Since then he has been seen on stage in Ugly Mugs for Malthouse and Griffin, Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll (Melbourne Theatre Co and Queensland Theatre Co), Death Of A Salesman, Paul, The Spook, Buried Child and Waiting For Godot for Belvoir; Songket and The Return for Griffin; War Of The Roses, Gallipoli, The Serpent’s Teeth and Tales From the Vienna Woods for the Sydney Theatre Company (with the STC Actor’s Company); Holy Day for STC and Don’s Party for MTC/STC. Steve co-wrote, produced, directed and starred in the hugely successful stage adaptation of John Birmingham’s He Died With A Felafel In His Hand.

Steve in currently appearing in Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s production of Gaybies at the Eternity Playhouse until 8 March 2015. For more information, visit: www.darlinghursttheatre.com for details.

Image: Steve Le Marquand