Josiah Davis wears many hats. In addition to his studies as a third year student in the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Program in Directing, which combines in-depth classroom work and an ongoing relationship with a working theater, his professional experience includes everything from actor to projection, sound, and lighting designer to video editor. On top of that, he is also the Associate Artistic Director at On The Verge Summer Repertory Theatre in Santa Barbara, CA.

Audrey Rowland: Tell me more about how you chose a path in directing.

Josiah Davis: My introduction to directing was at UCLA, where I went as an undergraduate for acting. The first thing I saw there was Purgatorio, at UCLA’s international theater festival, which was loosely adapted from Dante’s The Divine Comedy by Romeo Castellucci and the Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio and directed by Romeo Castellucci. I realized that there’s way more to theater than I knew, so I applied for UCLA’s directing continuum, and went through that training. I have a big dance background and a lot of visual art is part of my experience, too. I found that directing was a way that I can channel everything I do into something, versus acting, which was more personal. I still love acting, but directing lets me use my whole body. Creating an ecosystem, with the actors, with the designers, with the stage manager, with production, to create something that is in harmony and in alignment is invigorating to me.  

L to R: Kalyne Coleman, Cloteal L. Horne, Anwar Ali & Ricardy Fabre in Brown/Trinity Rep’s How We Got On by Idris Goodwin, directed by Josiah Davis last spring.
Photo by Mark Turek.

AR: How would you describe your time at Brown/Trinity Rep?

JD: My time at Brown/Trinity Rep is defined by the people that I met. One of the joys of directing is finding collaborators, and people that come together to accomplish an idea. The program does a great job introducing you to people that will be lifelong collaborators and/or mentors to you. That’s what I’m excited about — that I have been able to meet these people and have them in my community.  

AR: Your thesis production is David Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette. What drew you to this play specifically?

JD: I picked this production because it’s going to be done in the Pell Chafee Performance Center, which was originally a bank. To put this queen in a place of money, and to crack that open, to create a new understanding in that same space is something that I’m excited to do. The play’s also going to be produced in February 2020 — an election year. We need to be thinking about the figures that are in power, who put them there, why they’re there, and if they’re fit to be there. Then the story’s also complicated because Marie Antoinette was a person herself — someone who was groomed to be in this position, to be a queen. So what does it mean to be a woman in power, to have all of those pressures put on you?

Marie Antoinette runs Feb. 27 – March 8.
For tickets, click here or call (401) 351-4242.