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A New Business Takes Center Stage; David Darrow '09

Darrow photo
Photo courtesy of David Darrow '09

Minnesota is the only state in the country with arts funding written into its state constitution.

Based in Minneapolis, the state capital, David Darrow '09 and Kara Davidson have taken advantage of the area known for its young, up and coming artists.

The couple created Dovetail Theatre Company in 2011 as a means to foster new and innovative work through imaginative storytelling and an ensemble-based creative process.

"We wanted to join a larger contingent of young theater artists in Minneapolis who are making their own work… and we feel we will be serving the community better by offering local playwrights an outlet to see their work performed," Darrow says.

Darrow and Davidson, who attended the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, want to provide Minneapolis with a place for newly developed plays to become full productions. "We really believe in the spirit of the theater community here, and we think we have something to add to it," Darrow says.

With newly developed plays, the writers can hold readings–-staged or private–-to hear them out loud. "There are way, way more plays—as there should be—than companies to produce them, so a lot of great work doesn't get seen, or has to be produced in other cities," says Darrow. "Dovetail wants to help by giving those plays that have had nice long gestation periods in workshop mode a chance to be produced."

While the theater is his passion, dealing with the business end is often a challenge for Darrow. "Financing art is everyone's least favorite part of the job, and the most difficult," he says. "Everything else about the company has ups and downs, but I hate dealing with money."

Lucky for Darrow, he met Davidson while working as an apprentice at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ky., in 2009.

"Kara is much better than I am at the business end of things," Darrow says. "I follow her lead and she's fine with that. But we are both artists, and while we see eye to eye on a lot of things, often, we disagree."

The pair draws a clear line between the business and their relationship. "In the end, it's about treating your business/artistic relationship as something separate from your personal relationship," Darrow says. "We've gotten pretty good at leaving work at work and not letting it rule our lives."

Darrow also works with a company named Theatre Latte Da, whose main objective is to expand and challenge the art of musical theater. Darrow has been in two shows with the company: Beautiful Thing, by Jonathan Harvey, and Spring Awakening, adapted from Frank Wedekind's play by Steven Slater and Duncan Sheik.

For Darrow, who credits his interdisciplinary education for much of his success, the theatre is more than a stage and lights. It is simply "the most visceral, honest medium we have for promoting communication and understanding."

–Jilian Duffy '12

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