On the Couch with Daniel Lammin

Daniel Lammin Arts Review On the CouchWho is Daniel Lammin?
Hello! I’m Daniel Lammin, and I’m a 30 year-old director and playwright, as well as a film reviewer. I’m also obsessed with film, animation, film scores, history, astronomy, classical music and literature, and debating all those things with people, with a passion that can be as obnoxious as it is endearing!

What would you do differently to what you do now?
If I wasn’t working in the theatre, I’d probably either go back to uni and study modern history, or try and work in film, or film criticism. That, or be a personal trainer, of all things.

Who inspires you and why?
From an artistic perspective, I find myself more inspired by film than theatre, and by filmmakers rather than theatre directors. Stanley Kubrick and David Fincher are the two directors I always return to, because of their rigorous investigation of their material, their impeccable craft and their refusal to accept anything less than the best anything can be. They also explore the kind of dark material I find myself drawn to, and their films become touchstones for me when I need inspiration or a bit of extra bravery.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
There have been two difficult periods in my life – one was when I was badly bullied throughout primary school, and the other was losing an old boyfriend when he committed suicide. If the theatre I make can stop just even one kid from thinking they have no worth in the world or stop them from thinking about taking their own life, then I will have done good in the world, I think. I’m so determined to make sure these things never happen again.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
This is going to sound so sad, but I don’t really go on holidays! I never have much time off! The closest I get is visiting my family, who live in rural Queensland on a sugar cane and cattle farm. Their homestead is on a hill overlooking the property, quiet and open to the sky. Something about it always makes me feel at peace.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
If they have time and I can convince my boyfriend to drive us there, I love taking people to Hanging Rock. It’s my favourite place in Victoria, both because I find it so beautiful and so deeply unsettling. It shows the sadistic side of me that I want to take friends to visit a place that scares the crap out of me!

What are you currently reading?
The Holocaust by Laurence Rees. It’s an emotionally grueling read, but also incredibly fascinating. It’s also offers an unusual break from thinking about Awakening now we’re back in rehearsals.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m always jumping between things, but currently it’s the original cast recording of Dear Evan Hansen. It has a lot of thematic relevance to Awakening, but mostly I just think it’s so beautiful and so incredibly moving. My poor neighbours have had to deal with me power-walking down the street silently lip-syncing to it for many, many months! I’ve also powered through the podcast S-Town, which is some of the finest storytelling I’ve come across in a long time.

Happiness is?
The moment the lights first go down on opening night, when all the possibility in the world hangs in the air.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m not entirely sure yet, but all I know is I just want to keep directing. It’s the reason I wake up in the morning, it’s what makes my blood pump and my skin prickle, it’s all I want to do with my life. I love telling stories and working with incredible artists and exploring that extraordinary connection between a work and its audience. I know I’ll never be sick of it because it will always have something to surprise, shock and thrill me.

Returning after its acclaimed debut season at Trades Hall in 2016, Awakening is a new adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s masterpiece Spring Awakening, created by Daniel in collaboration with students from Monash Uni Student Theatre. For more information, visit: www.fortyfivedownstairs.com for details.

Image: Daniel Lammin (supplied)