The Daily Gamecock

Student's love of theater drives him towards artistic, academic success

For some of us, the physical manifestation of our self-expression is a piece of paper on which we can spill words. For others, it’s a canvas on which our thoughts collect as colors and shapes. It may even be an instrument through which our feelings are suddenly given a sound.

For second-year theater and psychology student Logan Davies, the channel he uses to express his feelings is simply himself; when Davies is on stage, his body is analogous to a blank page for writers, a canvas for painters or an instrument for musicians.

“With theater, it’s like, you take what’s been written, and you make it bigger. You tell the story that was already written,” Davies said.

Also unique to theater is its allowance for shifting identity — and not just in one’s own headspace, but physically and outwardly to an audience.

“Getting to be someone who’s not myself for just a little bit is kind of cool, and getting to convince people, it’s like the suspended disbelief,” he said.

This concept of “suspended disbelief” is vital to a theatric performance. The idea is that in order for something to work on stage, the actors must make the audience believe it, even if they know logically that what is happening in front of them is completely fictional.

Studying theater academically goes further than just the acting aspect. Some of the earlier theater classes give broad overviews of things like lighting, costume design and directing.

Additionally, Davies said he studies theater from a more historical perspective so that he can get a grasp on the origins of the art. Theater students also learn to look deeply into texts they will be performing in order to get the most out of them.

“You can perform a monologue for something you’ve never read, but it’s more meaningful if you’ve actually read it and have done the analysis to be like 'This is what this character wants in this moment, and this is how I’m going to show that to everybody,'” Davies said.

Davies originally entered USC as a biology student with the intent of becoming a doctor. However, shifting interests led him into psychology, where he could still help others but from a different angle.

It was his Theatre 170 class about the fundamentals of acting that first made him add theater to his academic curriculum. Though Davies enjoyed being involved with theater in high school, it was never something he intended to avidly pursue until college.

“I just kind of fell in love with it,” Davies said of his experience in the introductory class. “I was just like, 'This is something I have to be doing for the rest of my life.'”

His first show with USC was as a first-year student in a Main Stage show, "Animal Farm." The preparation for such a show is intense. Rehearsals are time-consuming, spanning several hours each day. Logan says that it is the most challenging part, but once the show is over, actors are already looking forward to the next one.

The process of scoring roles is a competitive one, but Davies expressed that the theater community is tight-knit, and going after the same part as a friend does not make him support that person any less.

“We’re all friends, we’re all just here to get a degree,” Davies said. “And we can still be friends, even if it sucks that I didn’t get cast or couldn’t do this one thing.”

The major's small size creates strong friendships. Because Davies sees a large number of his theater peers in class each day, becoming close with them is only natural.

“There’s the competitive nature to it, but at the end of the day, everyone in that department is my friend,” Davies said. “We kind of grow to love everybody.”

Aside from acting, Davies hopes to get involved in both directing and playwriting. Directing is something he has never done before, but he intends to try his hand at it some time in the next year or so.

“Even if it’s not something big, like in the lab or on main stage, directing for a smaller thing is pretty cool ... I definitely want to try doing that,” he said.

Ultimately, Davies sees himself pursuing acting beyond college. He's considering trying out for theater companies and pursuing a theater company apprenticeship, in addition to attending graduate school for psychology — and perhaps theater too.

“With that I could maybe potentially teach people, teach high school theater or something. There’s just so much I want to do with it all,” Davies said. “But I can’t actually do all of them.”

Whether he lands in acting or playwriting, psychology or teaching, it is clear that he is opening doors for the future. Davies is the kind of person who has a contagious, sort of ambitious energy; it is this energy that makes you believe that he can — and will — do it all, even if he says otherwise.