Onstage / TEN QUESTIONS FOR Arianne Davidow
Lady Windemere in LADY WINDEMERE'S FAN at Irish Classical Theatre Company
Photo courtesy of Arianne Davidow
What’s your relationship to this show?
My roommate in college played Lady Windermere our senior year, and I remember her raving about Wilde’s writing and the captivating societal intricacies of the Victorian era; I cannot wait to bring my own persona to the role. Side note: my family are not the biggest theatergoers, so when I told them I was in this show, they asked me which character I was playing, to which I replied: “The fan. It’s a huge dance role.” They seemed intrigued. Stay tuned.
What’s the best acting advice you were ever given?
Become more observant in your everyday life. The way people interact with others and move within the world is fascinating and is what we aim to recreate onstage.
What’s your best “the show went on” moment?
Oh, goodness, do I have tales to tell. I’ll stick to one, when I was playing Doralee in our college production of 9 to 5: The Musical. Before Act 2, we entered in a blackout, and I would always feel around for the side of this twelve-foot bookcase to know I had cleared the set, and was safe to continue onto the stage. One night, the bookcase was not aligned with the proscenium, so I felt the wall’s edge rather than the bookcase, and walked straight into the huge set piece. It toppled to the ground: props, files, papers flying everywhere. And, there I am when the lights come up, with my big fake hair and big fake boobs and big fake Tennessee accent, standing center stage saying, “Mr. Hart has got to get a sturdier bookshelf.”
What’s the role that got away?
As a dancer, I knew I needed to someday play Janet van de Graaf, and my senior year of college, Niagara was producing The Drowsy Chaperone. That same semester, I was fortunate enough to [be offered] work at Irish Classical. I knew if I accepted the role at ICTC, I was not eligible to audition for Drowsy, which was such a difficult decision. To this day, Janet is a role that got away, but I am still on the lookout for Drowsy Chaperone auditions!
What line from a former play have you never forgotten and why?
Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl has a plethora of quotes that steal my heart, but one that I will always be able to quote from memory is, “This is what it is to love an artist: the moon is always rising above your house. The houses of your neighbors look dull and lacking in moonlight. But he is always going away from you. Inside his head, there is always something more beautiful.” I suppose any artist—any person, really—can relate to this, the struggle between an ever-changing, ever-increasing beauty of what might be in comparison to the beauty of the present moment.
Arianne Davidow and Steve Copps in Million Dollar Quartet at MusicalFare
What “against type” role are you dying to play?
Growing up, my dad would always play me the original 1972 Pippin cast recording in the car, and he loved when I would sing the devil’s songs. This was far before Patina Miller reinvented the role Ben Vereen had originated, so I absolutely never thought I would have the opportunity to perform as the Leading Player. Now with a fierce African-American woman leading the show, I’m halfway to being the type [wink]. That doesn’t stop me from belting out “On the Right Track” and “Simple Joys” in the shower!
What’s your classic actor nightmare dream?
It’s more of a dancer nightmare; all my dancer gals will understand this. Growing up in competition dance, we’d hear these awful stories of girls putting shards of glass in their rivals’ pointe shoes, or stealing their costume pieces, or replacing their music with the wrong CD. Those are the nightmares that still haunt me before a performance.
What audition do you want a do-over on and why?
My college auditions, nearly all of them. I went to some big-name schools without a real idea of how to audition or which audition pieces worked best for my age and type. The kids who were groomed to be musical theater prodigies had stage parents ensuring every aspect of their auditions was perfect, and that was intimidating. I wish I could go back and give myself pointers, the most important to be confident in my talent. But all things happen for a reason, and I certainly would not trade my college experience or the people I met along the way for anything in the world.
What’s the best thing you’ve seen this season and why?
The Night Alive at Irish Classical. That shook me to the core, from the very first door opening to the closing scene. It was a stunning work with some of the finest actors in town, and I wish I could’ve gone back and watched it every night.
Plugs for the rest of the season or next?
Road Less Traveled has some killer plays in their 2018–2019 lineup, featuring Buffalo’s finest actors, and I will be at every single one of those productions. Second Generation Theatre is putting on pieces that rarely get produced in town: Angels in America, Nine, Big Fish. Cannot wait to see those! I also have to plug our remount of MusicalFare’s Million Dollar Quartet at Shea’s 710 next spring!
Irish Classical Theatre Company presents Lady Windemere’s Fan June 1–24 (irishclassicaltheatre.com, 853-4282).
Read more on this month's theater scene here.
Playwright Donna Hoke writes about theater for Spree and Forever Young.