Interview by: Shayne Dukevitch
Over the years Actor’s Theater has worked with actors, directors, choreographers and stage technicians who have gone on to pursue full time careers in the theater outside of Grand Rapids. We’ve contacted some of these ex-pats to ask them to bring us up to date on their current work and share a few reminiscences about their time at Spectrum Theater. Our second ExPat interview is with actor Michael Davis.
What shows did you work on with Actor’s Theater and in what year?
I was lucky enough to be an ensemble player in Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde directed by Jean Bahle, in 1999.
What’s your favorite Actor’s Theater memory?
My favorite memory of Actor’s Theater is not one that I had as an actor but a transcendent moment I had as an audience member seeing Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. I was a student of GRCC who worked in the box office which gave me the opportunity to see shows for free – even when they were sold out. It worked in my favor because Angels in America was a hot ticket that sold out all of their performances if memory serves right. I’ll never forget how excited I was to sit in the audience to watch an event. The moment that stays at the forefront of my memory is the scene at the beginning of the play when Prior collapses in his apartment, exhausted and debilitated by the symptoms from his HIV positive status, yelling for his partner Louis help him. It was a riveting scene that was performed with such honesty and immediacy that it took my breath away. It’s those kinds of moments that I live for in the theater!
What have you been up to since leaving Grand Rapids?
Not too long after appearing in Gross Indecency, I moved to New York City to be a professional actor. Over the past ten years, I’ve been fortunate enough to land paying jobs as an actor, however most of my life has been about doing indie theater. Indie theater, as I define it, is non-profit theater that pays some, if at all, but whose interests lie in relevance to one’s community and not as concerned with profit. I was thrust into indie theater in 2006 when I became a Flux Theatre Ensemble member. I found a community of theater professionals who shared my values and passion for theater that is interested in alternative viewpoints and ideas. It’s been a wonderful partnership and I’ve learned a lot about myself as an artist and a person. Flux Theatre Ensemble has also inspired me to create other opportunities for myself which is how I came to be the Managing Director of a new company called Eurisko Performance Group. It’s an exciting new venture that I co-founded with my friend Shayne Dukevitch. Our mission is to “inspire partnerships between performing artists across media, disciplines and distance” which we believe is long overdue in New York and elsewhere.
What projects are you currently working on?
There are a number of things on my plate that keep me busy and fulfilled. As far as Flux Theatre Ensemble is concerned, we are producing a new play by our Artistic Director called Jacob’s House, a retelling of the Biblical story of Jacob wrestling the angel. That will go up in late May. Further information can be found at www.fluxtheatre.org
I am a co-producing and directing an ongoing cabaret show called Chuck & Ginger. They’re two characters who were cryogenically frozen in the 1950’s – now they’re unfrozen and coping with a world that is unlike the one they left behind. The next show should be arriving in late April.
Eurisko Performance Group is looking forward to producing it’s inaugural play called The Great Divide this summer. Shayne and I have submitted the play to be a part of the NYFringe Festival this year and we’re hoping to hear if our submission was accepted in a few weeks. In the meantime, we are hosting workshops, readings and a fundraiser to help produce The Great Divide as well as our other projects that you can find at: www.euriskoperformancegroup.org.
What have you taken with you from your Actor’s Theater experience into your current career?
It’s very simple: To work hard and to have fun while you’re doing it!