My name is Edvard Lammervo and I am a 35 year oldish man from Finland. I grew up in a small city of Salo and after high school got drawn towards bigger cities and more and more into acting. I ended up living in Helsinki for ten years, where I was also studying performing arts in the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. I’ve been mostly working as an actor in very various projects, sometimes also as a writer or a director. Now I’ve been living in Berlin since August 2013. For long my favourite colour used to be blue, then I had an intense season for red in my twenties. Nowadays it’s more difficult to say.
What brings you to Berlin?
In the Spring of 2011 I wanted to leave Finland for a while to concentrate on my writing project – and simply to explore some more world. I ended up here without knowing much about the city nor having many contacts. Well, I fell in love with Berlin immediately and soon with some fine Berliners. I spent here three random, surprising and colourful months (also actually writing well), and wanted definitely to come back to give life here a proper chance.
How do you like your life in Germany as to compare with Finland?
Not so surprisingly no matter where you live you always bring yourself with you. So even though there were some issues I wanted to leave behind me to Finland, I found myself creating them pretty soon here again. But it has been also a good laboratory to become more aware of them and to make some better choices. Naturally there’s been quite some challenges when building one’s life in a foreign country when having to learn a new language and to deal with it in job hunting, bureaucracy and every day life. But anyway I find Berlin a very cozy and inspiring city for me. Compared to Finland there’s more space to be all sides of myself. In Finland I probably wouldn’t go jogging in a park wearing a bear mask (I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt too). I also very much enjoy simply wandering around the huge city and observing the surprising sights and diverse faces of life. Very concretely here I also have much more different cultures around me and friends from various countries. That’s been very enriching. Though of course I also do miss my family in Finland, good friends and the beautiful language. And sauna, as having at least some stereotypical Finnish blood in my veins 😉
Have you always wanted to become an actor?
As a kid I remember wanting to become a movie director. I watched a lot of films and I enjoyed writing stories and creating new worlds. At some point during the school years I forgot this passion when believing more rational vision offered by the society, but finally it took over and I started seriously heading for an acting career.
How did you start your acting career?
My first role was in a Christmas play of the lower elementary school. Everyone in the class had to participate and most of the boys were starring as Christmas gnomes who had to perform a dancing scene with fairies, the girls. Since I was so shy to interact with the girls I somehow fought myself to the role of Santa Claus, who didn’t have to join the dance. Santa Claus did have some more appearance and lines though, so I consider that as my first acting achievement.
In the upper elementary school I joined a drama class where the pupils wrote and performed a little play together. It was a very rewarding experience and the teacher was especially encouraging. I joined an amateur theatre group for the first time, then started getting into it more and more. My older cousins were also very inspiring role models creating their crazy short films, already when I was still a kid. As a teenager we also started to make some short films together as well, with my friends with a video camera I bought. After high school I didn’t have clear ideas about my future, only theatre and film worlds seemed more appealing. Around the age of 22 I ended up attending one year of theatre studies in Lahti (still in Finland). That intense year of full-time acting made it clear for me that that’s the path I want to follow.
How does Germany fit into your career as an actor? If you were in Finland would it be any different?
Well, career-wise it hasn’t been the smartest move, since in Finland I was able to work in my own language and I had already build a vast network. I imagine I would have more work there. My wish is that I could visit Finland every now and then for work, even for a bit longer periods of time. Though in Berlin there’s also different kind of possibilities, especially as I’m also interested to explore more the field of performance art. Here’s a lot going on and seems like often more spontaneously, as in Finland projects sometimes tend to get buried under too much planning and preparing when trying to do the things “right”.
What have been your favourite role to play and why?
There’s been so many and so different kind… But one of my favourites was in 2007 when I was doing my internship in a small independent theatre, KokoTeatteri, in Helsinki. In the play Riihiukko (based on Estonian folktales) I had a couple of roles: an old, tiny lady (being the youngest and biggest person in the acting ensemble, as well as a man) and a strange, deamonish, puppet-like creature summoned from house objects. Both roles were extremely physical and I got to transform myself into whole new beings.
Another one and totally different kind of role from my favourites is a recent role in our web series Das Apartment, as Lenni. He’s a Finnish guy living in Berlin, in his unique, world hugging and often weird seeming world. It’s been very much a pleasure to dive into to that alternative, playful reality he’s living in – or to call that reality out of myself. Also there’s been quite some freedom creating the character with the director Reinaldo Pinto Almeida, the costume designers, as well as with the other actors. There’s been space for improvisation and to slip in also my own strange jokes into Lenni’s world, and that’s been very much fun.
What projects are you currently working on right now?
At the moment I’m mostly occupied with the role of a postman, since there’s not always enough actual acting jobs. Also I wanted to explore some normal(?) working life for a change after so many years as a freelance artist. Anyway I’m working on some projects too. I’m acting regularly with our improvisation theatre group ComedySportz Berlin. We have live shows in English pretty much every week. I’m also attending a short film project Queue from Jupiter von Bastarden, as well as searching for a funding for another one with few friends. Last year I also wrote and directed a short film, A sandwich that could understand speech, that I’m trying to push to some festivals. I also have a couple of writing projects in development that I’m hoping to get through in Finland.
What does the year 2016 look like for you?
That’s what I’m curious to see myself too. There’s always been quite a bunch of unexpected twists on my path – and Berlin especially seems to be a good place for them – so I try to stay open and see what directions there could be for me. Of course, I also want to stick to the great people I’ve already met here and keep on working with them, as well as pushing forward the projects that are already on a move. We’ve got the first full season of Das Apartment now wrapped up with six episodes and I really hope there will be possibilities (a.k.a. money) to continue to the second season. I’d also like go back working as a dancing bear every now and then.
Photo credits: Päivi Seppänen