On the Couch with Dan Giovannoni

Arts Review On the Couch Dan GiovannoniWho is Dan Giovannoni?
Good question. I try not to think about that lest it all fall apart. I’m a playwright for my job, and a smart-arse for pleasure. I like dogs and dinosaurs and I’m scared of getting a dreadlock in my mouth. I try not to take things too seriously but then I also really take things to heart.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I think I’m living my best life, to be honest. I get to do so much – teach, write, play, devise, travel – that I’m ticking a lot of wish-fulfilling boxes. I know it sounds naff, but I try to chase after what I want, and try not to think about doing things differently. I guess I’d probably eat less carbs in a different life.

Who inspires you and why?
Artists, thinkers, storytellers, children – people who open up my understanding of the world. I’ve been lucky enough through my work to find myself in some remarkable contexts and communities all over the country, meeting people who I wouldn’t normally cross paths with. Kids in particular have a way of slicing through the bullshit and getting to the heart of things – they inspire me to try and be more like them.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I hope I’m doing that now! The arts is such an important part of building culture, of understanding who we are and where we’ve come from and what we want from the future – who we want to be, as people. Stories change the world, culture-makers change the world.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I don’t do it nearly enough but like going into nature and doing nothing. Being away from a phone, near a koala, with some red wine and the option for a bushwalk is perfection.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
I take them to this Lebanese pie shop on Sydney Road, around the corner from my house. $3.50 gets you a cheese and spinach pie – it’s delicious, and a nice slice of Melbourne.

What are you currently reading?
Merciless Gods by Christos Tsiolkas – a collection of his short stories about sex, family, betrayal. His characters are so familiar and human. I’m loving it, but with titles like Porn 1, Porn 2 and Porn 3, it’s sometimes hard to read on the tram lest someone try reading over your shoulder. And I just finished Donna Tart’s The Goldfinch. It took me about nine months to read it but I felt literally every emotion available, often all at the same time.

What are you currently listening to?
Sufjan Stevens Carrie & Lowell and Teeth and Tongue Grids. And the Jurassic Park theme song slowed down 1000% – amazing, mournful, epic, and about an hour long.

Happiness is?
Tied to what I do for a living, I think. If I’m working, I’m happy. If the work is good, I’m happy. If people like it, I’m happy. I shouldn’t put so much weight on that last one – it’s tough, though, because it definitely does feel like you’re putting yourself out there when you put work in front of an audience. For the work to be good, you have to invest yourself in it, but if people don’t like it, sometimes you get confused and think they don’t like you. Whatever happiness is, it’s probably not forever, is it? Probably just easier to say that happiness is a warm dog and cheese on toast, or a class of laughing 5-year-olds – those things actually do bring me an epic amount of joy, come to think of it.

What does the future hold for you?
The immediate future is busy with work – Jurassica at Red Stitch, and a few projects in development for young people. Later than that? Turning 30, learning about work-life balance, being out-priced of the rental market and moving deeper into the suburbs? Any or all of the above.

Dan Giovannoni is an award-winning playwright from Melbourne and has written plays for adults and children, including the critical and box office success Cut Snake. Other plays include Wrecking (Fat Boy Dancing/TRS 2012), and Two by Two (Little Ones 2012).

Dan worked as an Associate Artist with No Show on Shotgun Wedding as part of Next Wave 2012, and most recently staged an evening of new work called These Arms of Mine in his lounge room.

Dan’s latest work, Jurassica will receive its world premiere season at Red Stitch Actors Theatre from Friday 9 October. For more information, visit: www.redstitch.net for details.

Image: Dan Giovannoni (supplied)