Click here to view the PDF of the Ace 2.19.2009 print edition X Marks the Spot ‘Grapes’ a good combo By Kim Thomas The dawn came, but no day. In the morning the dust hung like fog. Men stood by their fences and looked at the ruined corn, drying fast now, only a little green showing through the film of dust. And the women came out of the houses to stand beside their men to feel whether this time the men would break. The women studied the men’s faces secretly. For the corn could go, as long as something else remained.” — The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck Those familiar with the Lexington theatre scene know Tim X. Davis.* It’s hard to forget the characters he played over the years (a Musketeer at the Arboretum; a convincingly creepy cop in Lobby Hero at Actors Guild). Today, although he still loves to act, Davis is becoming well-known as one of the best directors the Bluegrass has to offer. For this effort, he has gathered a wonderful cast and crew for the new dramatic presentation of Grapes of Wrath, a collaboration shared by two institutions. For the first time, the UK Department of Theatre is teaming up with Bluegrass Community and Technical College Theatre to pool their resources to present the epic American Steinbeck classic. BCTC’s own Professor Davis is directing this production with a cast of actors that includes BCTC students, faculty and staff, and UK students. Davis says, “The collaboration came about as a result of me sending an email to Nancy Jones (UK theatre chair) that said, ‘Hey, wanna collaborate next year?’ I’m not kidding — it was about that short of an email — she jumped on it and said. ‘How’d you like to direct Grapes?’ I had seen the Broadway production that Steppenwolf did back in the late 80s, and I was chomping at the bit to direct it! So here we are.” Davis applauds the energy and teamwork of everyone involved and says, “It’s been a great effort. The students from both programs have truly come together as one cast and crew. It’s also been a bit of a mini Daniel Boone reunion for me. Natalie Cummins**—whom I’ve worked with for years—is my stage manager, and I brought in my old friends Josiah Corell (fight choreography) and Henry Layton (Dance choreography) as well as Daniel Nation (musician). All these great folks worked with me at Ft. Harrod Drama back in the day, so it’s a pleasure to get the opportunity to create with them again as well.” Cummins has a flair for detail. As a volunteer at Central Kentucky Radio Eye, she always took on the unenviable task of describing the political cartoons, and her ability to convey every detail without leaning to one political side or the other was amazing … that takes a delicate attitude and careful wording. The combination of Davis’s direction, and Cummins’ management provides a high caliber of entertainment deserving of the Steinbeck classic. UK faculty members Nelson Fields (costuming) and Tony Hardin (sound) have also worked in this partnership, further strengthening the production team that Davis has put together. The cast includes Zack Mosely as Tom Joad, Josie McCoy as Al Joad, Jeremy Gillett as Casey, McCoy as Al Joad, Jeremy Gilett as Casey, Eric Henninger as Pa Joad, Allyson Smith as Ma Joad, Kevin Greer as Noah, to name a few. ■ Guignol Theatre and Fine Arts Building beginning on February 19th, and continuing through March 1. Show times and dates: Feb. 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, & 28 at 7:30pm and March 1 at 2pm. Tickets: 859.257.4929; Prices are $5 for students, $10 for school employees and $15 for general admission. *Tim Davis’ and his original play, Dancing With Dani, were featured in Opportunity Rawks, Ace Weekly November, 2008 ** Natalie Cummins was profiled in Ace Weekly’s Theatre Issue, “Back In Black” last summer.