JENNIFER JAMES DAVIES
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN IMPROV?
I was born in Cleveland Ohio at a young age. As I grew, I got bigger and eventually ended up in College. It was there that I discovered my college improv troupe, MC Comedy. The MC stands for Malone College, probably because that is the name of the college I attended. Years went by and I stopped growing, but only in size. I moved to NYC about a year and a half ago and started studying and performing Improv at The PIT, which stands for The People's Improv Theatre. Probably because that is the name of the theatre.
WHO WERE YOUR ACTING/IMPROV INFLUENCES, ROLE MODELS?
My dad was my very first acting influence. He had been an actor and musician in his hay-day, but was always still "performing" here and there and around the house. My brother was also very influencial in my path to improv. He didn't even know it. He just made fun of everything. He was always great with impressions and roasting... well, everything. Sarcasm and dry humor runs very deep in my family, so we had daily improv shows that were so authentic that looking back, I now realize it was actually our lives. Outside of the home, I have always been inspired by the likes of Who's Line is it Anyway?, Saturday Night Live, and Mad TV.
WHO WERE YOUR TEACHERS?
My family (unbeknownst to them), The PIT - mighty Meg Griffiths, the affable Ashley Ward, creepy Chris Griggs (who also performs at SNI), needle-nosed Nate Starkey. The Magnet - master of the house Michael Lutton.
WHAT DO YOU GET OUT OF PERFORMING?
Usually some sort of show. Unless, we just stand there and no one says anything, then we can't really call it a show, but maybe... art?
Truth be told, I get an electric rush from performing on stage. I have worked in film and tv a bit, but there is nothing like the excitement and immediacy of a live performance. Everything is happening in real time– in the moment, the audience is part of the energy and plays a crucial part of the show. It makes people happy, it makes people think, it makes the actor's come alive–– it's simply magical!
DETAIL, CHRONOLOGICALLY, YOUR IMPROV RESUME/CAREER?
1980s – 2002: The Davies Academy of sarcasm and silliness2002 – 2004: MC Comedy Improv trouple - Malone College (now Malone University)
2010 – 2011: Tuesday Night Improv @ Dela Dubby's, Cleveland, Ohio
2011 – 2012: The People's Improv Theatre - Levels 1-4
The People's Improv Theatre - Indy Team: The Smarticles
Sunday Night Improv @ the Black Box Theatre - Rotating Cast Member
The Magnet Theatre - Musical Improv Level 1 with Michael Lutton
WHAT DO YOU GET FROM DOING SUNDAY NIGHT IMPROV? IS IT FUN?
It is a blast for so many reasons! The rotating casts allow provides the opportunity to work with different improvisers which keeps things fresh and exciting! Short-form isn't played as much at the bigger theaters right now, so it's great to have an outlet to sharpen those skills! Also, you never know what Tom is gonna come up with and throw into the show-- it keeps me on my toes!
DESCRIBE YOUR MOST CHALLENGING IMPROV MOMENT?
Class shows can be pretty stressful for me. After a class wraps up, I have all this head knowledge about improv which is great and essential to the work. However, when you get on stage it can be hard to get out of your head, be in the moment, and listen to you teammates. I tend to do better when I forget what I am "supposed to be doing" and just have fun!
DONE ANY WORK IN TV? FILMS? SCRIPTED THEATER?
Yes, I started out as a theatre actor. I have done too many shows to count, so I will highlight a few favorite experiences: Charlotte's Web (Charlotte), Peter Pan (Peter), Proof (Catherine), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Mae), Rent (Ensemble), and Twelfth Night (Antonio).
As for Film– I busted into the film scene a few years ago, when there were several feature films shooing in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. I got to be a part of – Won't Back Down (nurse/parent), The Avengers (reporter), Alex Cross (stand-in for Rachel Nichols), and others.
Since moving to NYC, I have worked on the Law & Order SVU, Person of Interest, and done commercial work.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention my first TV experience: In 2003, I was interning with Days of our Lives at NBC our in LA and I was used as a background actor in a winter park scene!
[YOUR MOST REWARDING IMPROV WORK?
Musical Improv. I recently started a course at The Magnet Theatre specifically for Musical Improv. I absolutely love it. It satisfies my love of musical theatre, acting, and awkward dancing.
WHERE DO YOU HOPE TO GO WITH THIS?
All the way to the bank. And when I get there, I will ask for a loan, so that I can keep doing what I love!
WORST IMPROV EXPERIENCE?
That time that I didn't go to class or to a show. I might have been amazing if I had only shown up.
SEE JENNIFER JAMES DAVIES AT SUNDAY NIGHT IMPROV, MARCH 24 AT 7 AT 236 W. 78TH ST.