Damian Danher - scenestr of the day

Published in SOD  
What do you do?
I'm in the third and final year of my Acting degree at QUT. We're currently deep in rehearsal on our second stage show of the year, ‘Mnemonic’. It's a trippy cool ensemble-based journey into the nature of memory and how it defines us. It's shaping up to be something really special. I'm also a classicly trained percussionist. I now play in an indie rock band called Friends Of Ben. I love it; applying the old to the new. We've just released our first EP too.

Why do you do it?
I know this answer isn't going to be terribly au fait, but it's honestly because it feels right. I've tried my hand at the nine to five office job. I was entirely competent and entirely bored too. The thought of being an indistinguishable cog makes me feel ill. You should do something that only you can do, otherwise, what’s the point? I suppose I could go on about how I love that I can experience multiple lives within my own, how acting is the only true form of immortality we have, but I'm sure you don't want to hear any of that wankery, do you?

What do you love about the city you live in?
The fact that we're on the water. I entirely subscribe to the theory that water is psychologically therapeutic. It's comforting to me. I don't think I could live in a land-locked city.

Where did you go for your last holiday?
Egypt and Jordan. Every year I go on a family holiday with my parents, brother and sister. It's one of the only extended periods of the year where we're all together. ‘Indiana Jones And the Last Crusade’ doesn’t do Petra justice; and Egypt was beautiful and utterly riot free.

What's your favourite item of clothing?
Why? A rather lovely black pea coat. I seriously count down the days until it's cold enough to wear it. When I got my first full time job a few years ago it was the first thing I really splashed out on. The fact that, as a student once again, I'm no longer in a position to hurl huge sums at attire makes it even more singular. I imagine I'll probably be wearing it until it's rags.

What was your favourite TV show when you were a kid? ‘Doctor Who’. Dad got me hooked on it early. Preferred Doctors were Tom Baker, John Pertwee, Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy. I used to rent stacks of VHS tapes half my height from Video Flicks and binge on weekends — it was ten videos for $4. Depending on the age of your readership that sentence may or may not make sense.

If we were coming over to your place, what would you cook us?
Toss some chicken in cajun spice, salt, pepper, rosemary and olive oil. Stir-fry with onion, mushrooms, cashew nuts and a clove or two of garlic. Serve on a toasted croissant with aioli.

What's the best lesson you've ever learned?
The not inconsiderable amount of knowledge I've accumulated during my life has taught me, more than anything else, how much I still don't know. That's my lesson. That's my one constant reminder. Because however smart or knowledgeable I may be (and, with as little arrogance as possible, I certainly feel like I'm above average in that area) I know there's always more. That crosses over into my acting and music too. It keeps you humble in success and introspective in failure. The less you know, the more certain you are, because there are so fewer things to be uncertain about. Lacking that awareness limits your ability to grow. Have you ever met anyone more secure and unchangeable in his or her opinions than a moron?

Tell us one thing about yourself that nobody else knows...
When I'm driving and need to make multiple stops, like for running errands or dropping some friends home, I plan my trip so that I never have to backtrack once. The journey needs to be one straight line. Having to revisit a road or street really upsets me.

Are you happy with your work/ life balance?
I've never understood the aspiration towards such a ‘balance’. I never want to do anything that feels like work. I just want a life. I don't believe in any nonsense like an afterlife or heaven or whatever you want to call it so, given that this is all I've got, I plan on making the most of it. Selfish? Perhaps, but how many people are going to trudge through their existence putting off what they want for the sake of doing things they think they ‘need’ to do? I don’t intend to be a part of that punchline.

How do you define success?
Employment as an actor or musician. I'd be getting paid to do something I'd gladly do for free. That's success to me.

What's your spirit animal?
Probably a bird of some sort. I don't sleep and I'm an avowed cynic so I guess, an owl? Wait, do owls like cold? if they don't, Emperor penguin. I'll take temperate comfort over spiritual kinship any day.


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