Stage & Dance

Lexington actor crossing the pond to add London stage to his résumé

Lexington actor and educator Tim X. Davis, left, will reprise his role in the Burning Coal Theatre production of Iron Curtain Trilogy this month in London. The company is based in Raleigh, N.C.
Lexington actor and educator Tim X. Davis, left, will reprise his role in the Burning Coal Theatre production of Iron Curtain Trilogy this month in London. The company is based in Raleigh, N.C.

It hasn't hit Tim X. Davis that he is leaving the country in just a few days to make his debut on the London stage.

"Right now, all I can think of is all the minutiae that goes with the travel, making sure I have my passport, that kind of thing" says Davis, who will be performing in British playwright David Edgar's Iron Curtain Trilogy with North Carolina's Burning Coal Theater. It will run at the Cockpit Theatre Nov. 13 to 30.

"I am sure it will hit me the moment I step off the plane," says Davis, the coordinator of theater at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

The trilogy consists of The Shape of the Table, Pentecost and The Prisoner's Dilemma, geopolitical dramas set in fictional Cold War and post-Cold War countries.

"They aren't a trilogy in the traditional way in that there are characters that cross over," Davis says. "It's a trilogy in the sense that they all have to do with the fall of the Iron Curtain."

Davis has worked on hundreds of shows during his career as an actor, director and educator. But the chance to perform Edgar's work in London is a career highlight, particularly since the three plays have never been performed together in the United Kingdom. And until this past summer, they hadn't been performed together in the United States.

Davis performed in the trilogy in Raleigh, N.C., where Burning Coal Theater is based. His brother, Jerome Davis, is the artistic director at Burning Coal, which was the first theater to produce all three of the trilogy's plays in repertory.

Tim Davis jumped at the chance to work with his brother, who local audiences may remember as having directing Tim Davis as Mark Rothko in Actors Guild of Lexington's 2013 production of Red.

"After we did Red, we realized we really liked working together," Davis says, "but his seasons generally run contrary to my seasons, so it's difficult for us to do anything."

Davis describes the London run as something his brother "cooked up" with Edgar, who has published more than 60 works for the stage and television in his long, award-winning career, which has included stints as the literary consultant and other roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

"I think the idea was, 'wouldn't it be great to do them in America and bring them over to London?'" Davis says.

Edgar attended the trilogy's run in Raleigh and was instrumental in the production's move to London.

Davis says the trilogy is giving him an opportunity to flex his acting muscles, which he doesn't often get to use in his role as a teacher and director in the BCTC theater program, which he founded nine years ago.

"It's been a great challenge and it's taught me a lot and helped me to see how much I missed being onstage in that capacity," Davis says.

Participating in the show has resulted in a grueling schedule, he says, and added to the stress of his responsibilities at work and at home. Ultimately, he says, it was worth it.

"I'm almost 50 years old and I feel like I've had a very good career, but it has been more based in education theater and working with students," Davis says. "I've gotten out and performed professionally and directed and acted, but I've never gotten the opportunity to do something of this magnitude, and I never know when I will have the chance again."

When he returns, he hopes experiences like this will prove rewarding for his students, too.

Davis says his London theater excursion also has inspired him to do more moonlighting as an actor on local stages.

"Those students and that program are my life's work," Davis says. "But it's also imperative to me for my artistic life and my mental health. quite honestly, to have that time to be onstage and just be an actor. So hopefully somebody will have a role for me around here."

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