One thing about Chris Davis is that he is dedicated to his craft.
For the past six months, the actor has been taking ballet intensive ballet classes so all of his footwork is right when he performs “The Nutcracker” this holiday season.
“This year I want my tendus to slap, my jete’s to be 45 degrees, and my frappes to hit hard,” Davis said. “I hope to take the ballet part of the show to an entirely new level compared to previous years.”
While “The Nutcracker” is a holiday tradition among families when it is performed at various venues around the region, Davis has taken it to a whole new level.
First of all, he is the only one on stage.
Davis’ wholly original “One Man Nutcracker” will be back from Dec. 12 to 31 at the The Louis Bluver Theater at The Drake, 302 S. Hicks St., in Philadelphia.
Tickets are available at www.eventbrite.com/e/721299695807.
“I dated a ballet dancer and went to see ‘The Nutcracker’ every year, but in doing so, I fell in love with the story,” said Davis. “I was mesmerized by the spectacle, the costumes, and the virtuosic dancing. I started to take adult ballet classes with Amy Novinski and I thought, what if I just did the entire ‘Nutcracker’ myself? ‘One-Man Nutcracker’ is a celebration of the magic that theater can offer an audience as we explore this timeless story about radical change.”
As well as the fertile mind of Davis.
“I’m kind of poking fun at the ‘Nutcracker,’ ” Davis said. “I talk about some of the racist history of the ‘Nutcracker.’ I talk about my personal life and I tell the original story of the ‘Nutcracker,’ (which is) based on the book by E.T.A. Hoffman. So if you’re a ‘Nutcracker’ fan, or even if you’re not, it’s sort of a little different. I do every single character. I do Sugar Plum Fairy. I do Cavalier. I do Claire. I do Drosselmeyer with a creepy accent. A Drosselmeyer who makes dolls in his basement.
“So, you hear every song, like when you go to the ‘Nutcracker’ and you hear these iconic songs, that’s what you hear when you come to mine. You get the same experience, except it’s an hour and a half shorter and there’s only one person on stage.”
Davis didn’t do much performing until he attended Albright College in Reading, where he minored in theater.
“I had never acted before and I ended up in every single play that they did for the four years out there,” said Davis, who then went on to study at the National Theater Institute in Connecticut.
While he still enjoys being part of an ensemble, Davis really enjoys the freedom on one-man shows. He has performed several, including a “One Man Apocalypse Now,” “Violence of the Lambs” and “The Last Emperor of Mexico.”
“I just sort of stumbled into it and discovered there’s this entire world of artists that are making their own work and surviving off of it, Davis said. “I thought, ‘Okay, that’s pretty cool.’ I would like to have some independence and have control over my own work and not be waiting to be chosen.
“There’s something about one man-shows that you are forced to have the audience use their imagination. It’s like when you’re a kid and you tried a funny voice, or a funny skit, or something that you’re entertaining your parents. So that’s where it all starts. I feel like there’s something about it, that at the very base of theater is a solo show. I say the origin of theater was when one person stood up at the fire and started telling this story about how they had gone on this crazy hunt.”
Davis has been performing his “One-Man Nutcracker” since 2019, including a COVID year on Zoom in 2020, but he’s not resting on the success and good reviews.
“I’m trying to always find new ways to keep it fresh for me.” Davis said. “There’s a lot of joy in the show, and for me, personally, it’s really fun to perform. Everyone I know has seen the show. My neighbors have seen it. My friends’ kids have seen it. Everyone walks away with a big smile on their face.”
Source: Berkshire mont