XVR27's Improv Interviews - Don S. Davis - Chit-Chatting
Whose Improv Is It Anyway? : Original On-The-Spot Satire
An Interview With Don S. Davis
Chit-Chatting & Random Comments
Mensa Improv SIG
ChivalRuss: To start, I'll tell you what I have set up and maybe that'll help with
the target. The site is set up as an improv site ("Whose Line Is It Anyway?" type of thing)
- how to, preparation, presentation, closure, at least four variations for each game; I have seventy up, including four
that I developed myself with a second grade class I was teaching at the time. I figure, if it works well for second
graders, it should work well as introductory for adults.
Don S. Davis: Sure.
ChivalRuss: The interviews I have set up are to give acting hints depending on the
specialty, obviously, of the person I'm interviewing. The site is totally non-profit and is connected to a Mensa improv acting special interest group that I recently started
Don S. Davis: A Mensa group, huh? So this is intelligent people.
ChivalRuss: Well, I won't speak for myself, but I don't restrict membership into
the Mensa group to just Mensa members - I want to share the information with everybody. So, that's what I'm going to
do and I'll probably put the interview into the Mensa bulletin.
Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
Don S. Davis: [I handed him my card.] [Looking at the other sites on my card ...]
This is a great program - "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy".
ChivalRuss: Have you ever seen the video? Do you have an opinion on it?
Don S. Davis: I used to watch ... it used to show on the PBS station out of Seattle that we got up in Vancouver.
ChivalRuss: They did release the full six episode series on DVD.
Don S. Davis: Oh, really? That'd be a great one to have - I did watch all six of
ChivalRuss: It had a really nice tribute to Douglas Adams on it. His death was a
tragic loss. But I do still need to pick up his most recent book. They checked out his computer and found out all of
the stuff that he'd been working on and published all of his unfinished works - set up a college fund for his daughter
(so I've heard).
The tape recorder throws a fit ...
ChivalRuss: [Noticing something wrong with the recorder] That's weird...
Don S. Davis: Did I break it?
ChivalRuss: Hmm... well, it's going OK now.
"The Singing Detective", "Monk", & "Cop Rock"
ChivalRuss: Do you have a favorite television series?
Don S. Davis: Yes, "The
Singing Detective", which was a British series about this crazy novelist detective named Marlow who has horrible
psoriasis and was in this hospital in a ward with other patients in England, but it was a stream of consciousness type
of thing. Have you ever seen "The Singing Detective"?
ChivalRuss: No, I haven't.
Don S. Davis: You need to get a copy of it. It starred Michael Gambon.
ChivalRuss: Is it on video or DVD?
Don S. Davis: It's on video but you may not be able to get it over here. I'd
think you could because it showed on PBS over here. Y'know, at one point the doctors, for example - and this is typical
of it - at one point they're talking about his condition and the doctor and a nurse is there and he goes from talking
realistically about, y'know, his hip has got problems and his hip has got problems and [singing] the hip bone's
connected to the thigh bone and then, all of a sudden... it goes from being terribly real until this stupid music comes
in [singing] the thigh bone's connected to the, etc. And then, all the nurses and the doctors and everybody, but the
poor patient who's lying there, is dancing to the thing. And then as they finish the dance, it segue ways right back to
the doctor saying "... and now this, and we've got to do something about this, and hey let's go on over to here and
check the next patient..." and it was just done smoothly and I like that.
ChivalRuss: Just out of curiosity, have you seen "Monk" yet?
Don S. Davis: "Monk"? No. Never heard of it.
ChivalRuss: It's on USA Network
and it's been on about four weeks. Tony Shalhoub plays
this obsessive compulsive detective.
Don S. Davis: I loved him in "Wings"; he was the taxi driver.
ChivalRuss: I've actually been taping it each week. The basis is that his wife
was killed a number of years before and he was a little OCD before but then he basically went over the edge with it.
And they explore the comedic aspect of it but they also have it affect his ability to see detail because he totally takes in
everything he sees. And it sounds like the same humor style as "The Singing Detective". Not as much stream of
consciousness, but the same humor style.
Don S. Davis: Well, y'know, Bochco tried to do what "The Singing Detective" did with "Cop Rock" and it was horrible.
ChivalRuss: They made, what, two episodes of it?
Don S. Davis: Yeah, yeah. But "The Singing Detective" was wonderful. And there
was another one by the same people over there called "Spank The Monkey" which is about World War II and British
bureaucracy in the war department. I like stuff like that.
Poetry & The World Today
ChivalRuss: Have you ever considered or done any writing?
Don S. Davis: I've written screenplays. I've written poems. When I was six
years old, on Christmas day, I walked down to the breakfast table and I announced to my family, because my family all
got together on Christmas day, that before I died, I was going to paint a great painting, carve a great sculpture, and
write a great poem. And I love poetry; I read a lot of it. I especially like Frost and Sandberg; Carl Sandberg and Robert Frost - it's because of the age I grew up in. But I like James Joyce and I like D.H. Lawrence. I like Jack Kerouac. I'm at that age, y'know, I'm sixty years old. My world is a world that's dead. Y'know,
you're living in the new world; your world's alive and your world talks about the brutality of mine, but you make us
look like babes in the woods. Y'know, in my world when I grew up, people didn't bust into fourteen-year-old girls'
bedrooms and kidnap them at gunpoint and kill them. And you didn't have people sending anthrax letters through the
mail. We may have had it, but the world at large didn't know about it.
ChivalRuss: It wasn't as prevalent.
Don S. Davis: Yes. And it is now. And my world, when I grew up, most young
people thought that if they found something they liked to do and worked at it, they'd have a better life than their
parents. In your world, you realize that reality says you're not going to have as good a life as your parents because
there are too many people now with too few resources to allow anyone but the very brightest to come up with something
new that gives them enough money to be able to build a life of security. Most people your age don't feel like that's
out there for them. Now, maybe you do, because you're a Mensa person, but my son who has average intelligence, he feels
like he'll never have the money that he has known as my child and the standard of living that he had living with his mom
ChivalRuss: Being an elementary school teacher, I know I'll never see the money
Don S. Davis: There you go. But you see, when I grew up, even an elementary
school teacher, who right now you see that as probably meaning in many ways that you're probably going to be living
slightly above the poverty line, at best you'll probably be in the lower-middle class as far as your standard of living
and your quality of life. When I grew up, the world was your oyster. Even if you were going to be a high school
teacher, a high school teacher had a canoe, he had maybe a few years old car in his garage, but so did everybody else.
Now, somebody's on TV saying that if you don't drive a brand new Mercedes that costs $70,000.00, you're not a success.
Well, [that's crap]. We've been given unrealistic expectations to judge our worth by today, you're age has. My age
figured as long as you can get up in the morning and face the day without hurting somebody else, you were OK.
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