Dallas — Audacity Theatre Lab's fourth Dallas Solo Fest returns, after taking a break in 2017. The event runs June 6-10 in the smaller studio space at the Dallas Children's Theater. Look for interviews with each performer, and reviews of each show, coming on TheaterJones.
Let's start with Philadelphia-based Chris Davis, whose Drunk Lion opens as the second show of the festival, at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 6. It is also performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 10; and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, June 11.
Directed by Mary Toumanen, Drunk Lion is written in Spanish and English, and is translated in the action. The show focuses on a lonely alcoholic lion who spends his days drinking into oblivion in a cantina, until he meets Chris, a young foreigner learning how to speak Spanish. The unlikely pair forge an intoxicated bond over life, love, and alcohol.
TheaterJones: How long have you been performing? And performing solo?
Chris Davis: I've been performing on stage since I was 18 when I attended Albright College in Reading, PA. I've been performing solo shows for the last six years, since 2012.
How did this piece come together? How long did it take, and how many times have you performed it for audiences?
I lived in Chiapas, Mexico for a year, and then later Mexico City for two years. When I returned to the United States, I was writing a full-length play about a lion that stalked some ex-pats in an apartment. While working on this, I wrote my solo show Drunk Lion on a whim and stored it away for almost two years. Then after trying to envision what the hell was my next step in the theater world I found the script and thought maybe it was good. Originally I wrote it with two actors in mind, but when one of my friends said he couldn't do the piece, I made it into a solo show. I've performed the show now close to a 100 times.
Talk about the importance of creating and performing it in two languages.
I think it's more important to create work whatever the languages are. Multiple languages allow you to capture different cultures, and make assuming another character even easier. Languages in a way are worlds, so the more you can put into a play, the more worlds you get to explore. In Drunk Lion, the English and the Spanish world come to a head, in a sense.
What are the challenges of performing a solo show?
Memorizing your lines is hard when no one is paying you to do so. Sitting in your dressing room, or waiting outside the parking lot, wherever you are going to perform, can feel like a lonely experience to some, but I've always enjoyed it. I think the hardest part is probably writing it, or creating it, but that goes for making any show. To be honest I see so many more challenges in producing traditional theater than solo work
What are you looking forward to in Dallas?
I've never been to Dallas or Texas at all. So I want to seek out the food, meet local people, go on touristic things, and try and get a sense of how people live there. I'm excited.
» You can learn more about all six shows and see the schedule here.