What's Upintheair with actor, director, producer Davey Calderon?

On the closing weekend of the 2018 rEvolver Festival, a beautiful drag queen glided gracefully through the Cultch lobby and all anybody could think was: WHERE CAN I SEE HER SHOW?! Davey Calderon had just finished the Plunge pitch of upcoming Fringe show : Big Queer Filipino Karaoke Night! and we cannot wait to buy our tickets! 

Davey Samuel Calderon is an actor, director, producer and theatre maker based in Vancouver. He has his BFA in Theatre Performance and Communication from Simon Fraser University. Co-founded New(to)Town Collective, an emerging theatre collective focused on theatre training and interdisciplinary works. 

He was the Partnership Coordinator for Alley Theatre’s The Ridiculous Darkness in association with Neworld Theatre. He is currently the Resident Producer for Neworld Theatre. Recent directing credit's include: ROAD (About Love Festival 2017) and How to Self-Suspend (Act II) (PushOff 2018/Tender Container). He's excited to be showing two new works: RUN, a short film written by Davey and being presented at the 2018 Vancouver Queer Film Festival; Big Queer Filipino Karaoke Night! at the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival (see interview for more details). We asked Davey What's Up?... and many other hilarious questions. 

BQFKN! photo credit: Rae MacEachern-Eastwood.

BQFKN! photo credit: Rae MacEachern-Eastwood.

Describe yourself in the format of a character synopsis.

Davey Calderon is the epitome of a transcontinental person. Descended from Filipino parents who immigrated to a small town in Newfoundland, but had Davey born in bright and sunny California (Trump eat your heart out, he's the guy Trump constantly talks about manipulating the system #sorrynotsorry). This small town boy with dreams of a bright future, moved to Vancouver from Newfoundland nine years ago. Where he not only found his bright future in theatre and the arts, but also his glittery one (queer and proud!). A Capricorn that's ambitious, stubborn, loyal, and cheerful.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

A tie between co-founding New(to)Town Collective (check us out @ www.newtotowncollective.com #shamelessplug) and surviving falling off a cliff. Both taught me a lot about myself.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for a theatre project?

I massaged a raw chicken on stage during a monologue and then shook keys out of it's,... you know.... Contemporary experimental theatre at it's finest.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I use to speed walk for Track and Field. If anyone wants to learn, hmu.

Davey in action at Training Jam - photo credit: Sheng Ho

Davey in action at Training Jam - photo credit: Sheng Ho

What's one show and/or event in the Vancouver theatre scene you have loved?

One of the biggest theatre events that had a huge impact on me was HIVE. It was co-produced by NERB (Neworld, Electric Theatre Company, Rumble Theatre, & Boca del Lupo) and others in a building at Great Northern Way. It was an immersive theatrical experience that really spoke to me and represented what Vancouver Theatre was about: collaboration, community, innovation, and humor. It inspired me to do my own site-specific work, and eventually joined the HIVE legacy as an artist when Resounding Scream Theatre revived the event under the name, HIVE: The New Bees.

If you could only put one prop for every single show you do from now on, what would it be?

I know this is such a basic thing to say, but it would be a black IKEA Stefan chair (minimalist directors will understand what I mean).

If you could sit down with any theatre artist living or dead and have a long chat, who would you sit down with?

Ahh, I can only pick one? Okay. I would say Anne Bogart. She's been an inspiration for me as a director and theatre artist. She is such a versatile director and artist.

What's the strangest note you've ever had to give to an actor and/or company?

I pity my actors because my directions are always strange. The quirkiest thing was encouraging my cast for a play I directed (Donut Holes in Orbit by Prince Gomolvilas) to introduce a different type of donut the majority of scenes in the play. Favorite moment was when one of the characters had a glass eye. I had the actor pretend to pop out his glass eye during his monologue and reveal to the audience that the eye had turned into a Timbit. At the end of the monologue I got him to eat his Timbit eye. Every time the show ran, the audience always had a chuckle during that moment.

Davey Samuel Calderon

Davey Samuel Calderon

Seeing as how one of Upintheair Theatre's mandate involves supporting the next generation of theatre makers, what advice would you give to an emerging artist living in Canada?

Something I wish I did way earlier in my career (I use to be such a shy person) was reaching out to established artists and producers in my community and ask them out for coffee. Not to pitch, no one likes cold pitches, but to get to know our colleagues in our community. The theatre community in Canada is actually very small and friendly. People are happy to support each other and hang out. You'd be surprised what comes happens one coffee date.

Describe your theatre school experience in 3 key words?

Weird. Loving. Independent.

What are you both most excited about right now?

I'm excited about the movement of theatre artists to tackle de-colonization and proper representation within their work. As scary as the world feels right now, I have hope because I see my colleagues not shying away from the issues we all face. I love that. And I'm hoping I'm contributing to this call towards what we all want in this world: humanity, respect, and equity.

Now finally… what’s Upintheair? Give us the details of your show? Juicy details. Date/time/venue/tickets$?

Upintheair creates some fine theatre, and such a supportive company of the Vancouver theatre community. I've been lucky to have been an artist they supported throughout various rEvolver Festivals. Especially after an excerpt of my show was presented at rEvolver Festival's and Resounding Scream Theatre's 2018 PLUNGE series. The play, Big Queer Filipino Karaoke Night!, is a one-man, Clown-Drag-Karaoke Extravaganza, serving up Filipino-Canadian identity shenanigans, queer insights, family epiphanies, and soul gratifying karaoke! Inspired by my visit to my family’s ancestral land, the Philippines, this show is an interactive celebration of the intersections found in oneself. All written and performed by me. Produced by Tender Container with associate producers Neworld Theatre and New(to)Town Collective for the:

2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival's BYOV series (September 6th to 16th, 2018).

Presented at XY YVR, one of Vancouver's LGBTQ+ friendly clubs (1216 Bute St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1Z8). Specific show dates, times, and admission details will be announce soon at www.vancouverfringe.com. See y'all there! #BQFKN!

Big Queer Filipino Karaoke Night! - photo cred: Rae MacEachern-Eastwood.

Big Queer Filipino Karaoke Night! - photo cred: Rae MacEachern-Eastwood.