The following is an unedited extract of ‘Motherhood and Creativity. The Divided Heart’, by Rachel Power.
For women of my generation, Claudia Karvan is the actor we have grown up with. From her movies High Tide, The Big Steal and The Heartbreak Kid, to her roles in some of the country’s most successful television series, including The Secret Life of Us, Love My Way and The Time of Our Lives, her characters’ lives have mirrored ours across the years. The fact that she has largely remained in Australia throughout her career makes this particularly the case. Claudia is the mother of two children, Audrey and Albee, with environmental engineer Jeremy Sparks, and stepmother to his daughter, Holiday. As a child, Claudia’s mother and stepfather ran the ultra-cool, bohemian nightclub Arthur’s, in Kings Cross, and the family lived in a part of Sydney considered so dubious that her school declared it permanently ‘out of bounds’. Having been brought up in such colourful circumstances, I ask if her childhood has had a strong influence on her professional life or on her parenting.
‘Both,’ Claudia answers. ‘I think what I got to see through my childhood was human beings with their facades removed a lot. So there was no suburban pretence; it was all on show. That absolutely helps you as a performer, because you get to know human beings and you get to see drama. But as a parent, it’s made me realise how important consistency and security are.
‘It’s funny, I’m talking to you as a parent, but I feel more like a daughter now, at this stage of my life. I’m at least halfway through the major parenting years, but now my role as a daughter is becoming the competing or dominant one, and probably will be until my mother’s mortality kicks in.’