‘Grapes of Wrath’ and Tim X Davis a good combo at UK Theatre

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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.



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