Davis takes center stage; What’s next?

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by Kinsey Phipps

“When I was really little, maybe second grade, I was involved in the high school’s production of Shakespeare Comes To Calamity Creek. I loved being up on the stage, and I knew then I wanted to act. It’s been a lifelong goal of mine to be able to entertain for more than a small community,” PCM senior Graham Davis said.

Davis has been involved in theatre for over 10 years, and he has always known his biggest love in life is his biggest goal: Acting.

“To be on stage for me is completely amazing. I love being able to perform for people who care about the arts, and show them that theatre is still very much thriving in culture today. It’s such a rush to perform on a stage in front of hundreds of people,” Davis said.

Davis excels on stage, but that is no secret to the PCM community. The Mustangs have watched Davis grow on stage for years, as he has performed in nine productions around Monroe for ten years. The Prairie City, Monroe “The community has embraced and encouraged him to continue doing what he loves.  I went the show he was in in Knoxville last week, and well over half of the audience was from PCM. They continually support him and all of the other students, and that’s part of what makes this community so special,” PCM English Teacher and Play Director Samantha Pohl said.

Davis got the opportunity to audition for a role in the Knoxville Area Community Theatre’s production of “Into the Woods” in August.

“Auditions are crazy. You get to the point where you know your piece, and you’re comfortable singing in front of someone, and then you get in front of the director and kind of freak out a little,” Davis said. “You want to impress that person, so you leave it all out there, but you never know what they’re thinking, and that’s scary.”

Although the nerves kicked in, his talent kicked in to high gear. Davis landed the role of Jack in the production of “Into the Woods,” a role he has admired and wanted to play for almost three years.

“My connection to ‘Into The Woods’ is deep. My first time hearing of it was watching the movie that came out in 2014. I went to see it in theaters five times. It eventually grew and I started watching it as much as I could online and trying to find places to try out for a role. In 2015, I actually found out that the Des Moines Playhouse was deciding to put on the show, so I went to try out and got a callback. Unfortunately I wasn’t casted in a part,” Davis said. “Then I kept searching and luckily, I found Knoxville. Being able to play Jack in such an amazing production is a dream come true. I’ve wanted to play this role ever since I first heard about the show. I love the way they portray Jack as a young adult, instead of a child, because he’s just trying to become a man, but still relies to much on his mother until she dies.”

Davis performed alongside his mother, Janice Davis, and his friend, junior Sydney Burns. J. Davis played the stepmother, and Burns was an extra in the musical.

“I’ve learned immensely. The cast of this show has taught me so much, including being a better musician, actor, and being a better person in general. Everyone had a completely different outlook on life, and that led to a lot of different views on the show which made the show much more fun to perform. I know so much more about myself, as well, including how much I really want to pursue my goals in life,” Davis said.

From practicing the performance almost every night until nine or later, the cast of “Into the Woods” put in an immense amount of work in order to prepare for their performance at the end of October. The Knoxville Area Community Theatre presented their hard work every night from Oct. 27 through Oct. 30.unnamed-9.jpg

“Now that ‘Into The Woods’ is over, I’m able to focus on other things. But, I’ll always miss going to Knoxville for rehearsal. I loved the cast dearly and without their encouraging words or actions, it’ll be difficult. I will miss everyone in the cast, and I’m blessed to have gotten to know each and every one of them.

The end may have come for “Into the Woods” in Knoxville, but Davis’ career on stage is far from over.

“I plan to move to a city where I can follow my dreams. I will attend a college to major in musical theatre and minor in vocal performance. I want to entertain not just for hundreds, but for thousands across the world. I know that with a lot of hard work and dedication, I could do just that. I love the thought of moving to a place like New York City, Los Angeles, or Chicago to pursue my dream,” Davis said.

It is clear that Davis has big goals and aspirations for this life. However, Davis has as much heart and dedication as anyone. His dreams are not far from being reached.

Pohl said, “He has grown from being a boy with a pretty strong talent, to someone that I can truly see playing a role on a TV sitcom someday. He’s got the devotion, the talent, the drive and the passion. I believe at some point, his pursuit and love for theatre and acting is going to pay off.  He is going to do great things for the world, in the entertainment industry and for any person that he comes in to contact with.”

There are millions of people with a similar dream as Davis, but what sets him apart is his reasoning behind those aspirations.

“My biggest goal in life is making people feel something. The world today is filled with hate, and I want people to be able to get away from that. I want to be able to put on performances that make people happy, sad, or even mad,” Davis said. “If I can have people walk out of a performance knowing that they were truly moved, I’ve done my job.”