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Job Interview

[whitespace] Reid Davis

Drama Queen

REID DAVIS' recent production of Martin Sherman's Bent for Berkeley's Shotgun Players received rave reviews. Always the star-fucker, Metropolitan's Millie caught up with the emerging director for an afternoon of chat and chew. But what Millie got was a rare glimpse of what lurks behind the scenes.

Millie: What's your job?

Reid: Freelance theater director.

Millie: Do you like it?

Reid: Sure. Directing a play is like speed skating backwards--it better be about movement. You can sorta see where you've been, and you generally know you'll get bruised at some point. But you have to fly or you'd never get anywhere. Lies and truth can look so similar in the theater, yet authenticity is impossible to fake. I like it when one can easily describe what happened and an audience doesn't feel marketed to--where no one is selling entertainment, and no one is shopping for it.

Millie: How did you start?

Reid: I was a pushy, friendly kid. That helped. I liked provoking people. That helped too. The theater was the one place where my queer-kid displays of rage and terror could be greeted with laughter. And when I finally started directing plays in college, I liked feeling proud that my actor friends were onstage doing miraculous things with their bodies.

Millie: Do you hang out with the people you work with?

Reid: Yeah, art is life, and life is art, and all that.

Millie: If you weren't directing, what might you be doing?

Reid: Teaching munchkins or dog-training. Dogs and kids have it all over us when it comes to faith, warmth and clarity of intention. They get to an unconscious place that strikes me as really wise.

Millie: What's the best thing about Muni?

Reid: Cramped, angry riders don't even try to cover their petty territorial needs with politeness. ... Some mornings, you take one look and know this guy would rather kill than make room for one more rider. On Muni, you always know where you stand.

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From the July 27-Aug. 9, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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