On the Couch with Lyall Brooks

Lyall Brooks AAR On the CouchWho is Lyall Brooks?
Fading actor, rising director, occasional cartoon voice over guy, and rusted-on artistic director of Lab Kelpie – an Australian New Writing Theatre Company

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Every second job would be working for someone else! I love creating work for myself and Lab Kelpie, but sometimes security and an easier end-of-day “switch off” would be terrific…!

Who inspires you and why?
My partner, playwright Adam Fawcett – I’d be a useless husk without his love and encouragement – and our small, close group of crazy-talented artist friends who inspire and support each other and keep each other moving forward – sometimes over the edges of cliffs, true, but they can be bloody wonderful cliffs.

What would you do to make a difference in the world? 
Most days I feel utterly powerless to do anything… with everything that’s going on, where do you start? But I do try to break the saving of the world up into achievable layers: improving small things – habits, behaviours – every day; educating myself and/or others – reading, pulling someone up on shitty behaviour – a few times a week; contributing to something bigger than me – volunteering, protesting – every few weeks; and trying to make bigger contributions – like creating mind-changing theatre! – every few weeks or months. I don’t know. Is that enough? Cue the powerlessness, rinse, repeat…

Favourite holiday destination and why? 
Berlin. I lived in Germany for a year when I was younger and, long story short, when Adam and I spent some time back there a few years ago I was filled with all sorts of conflicting emotions and took some time to realise I just had to stop fighting my love for the place. I say “holiday destination” for the purposes of answering the question, but Berlin feels like home to me – I just can’t seem to be there as much as I’d like.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why? 
We live in Hepburn Springs, which is pretty much a smorgasbord of loveliness, so when people come to visit we tend to let them explore things for themselves! If they want a hand held, though, then they get a walk around Lake Daylesford, coffee at the General Store or tea at the Convent, dinner at the Farmers Arms, and drinks on our deck at home with front row seats to the nightly screeching cockatoo symphony.

What are you currently reading? 
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari – mind-blowing and humbling; Quicksand by Steve Toltz – Australia’s most intelligent and simultaneously irreverent fiction writer; and, due to limited hours in the day, a lot less scripts than I’d like.

What are you currently listening to?
Music at the gym – mostly Sara Bareilles and Kurt Elling; and podcasts when I’m walking the dogs – History of English Podcast for smarts or My Dad Wrote a Porno for lols.

Happiness is? 
Sleeping in. Waking up to a big cuddle from Sam (the lab kelpie) and/or a coffee from Adam… and going back to sleep.

What does the future hold for you?
I hope the same things I’m doing now, but gradually scaling up in size and success! I’d like to see Lab Kelpie grow and become a valued, integral (and self-sufficient) player in the industry; I’d like to direct larger and more varied projects; I’d like to travel more. Actually, stuff it, remove the “I’d like to’s”; these are all very achievable goals. This is what the future holds.

Lyall directs the premiere season of Become The One by Adam Fawcett (2018 Midsumma Playtime Staged Readings Winner) at Gasworks Arts Park: 31 January – 9 February 2019. For more information, visit: www.midsumma.org.au or www.labkelpie.com for details.

Image: Lyall Brooks (supplied)