By day, veterinarian Dr. Natty Davidson treats small animals, including dogs and cats, as well as rodents, hamsters and even the occasional rat. At night however, she joins the “Rats in the Sewers” as the longtime “Faustkateer” of the Mickee Faust Club.
One of Davidson’s favorite skits from his 19 years with Mickee Faust Arts/Activist Community Theater called on his skills as a vet to play the role of a wolf.
“The director wanted me to do this because I know how dogs act, so I was able to put my perspective on animal husbandry and behavior with wolves in a pack,” Davidson explains. “I helped cast mates do smile and arch back movements and walk on stage. It was cool to bring that knowledge, and nothing that I thought I would use on stage.
Since 2003, Davidson has been an active member of the local Mickee Faust Community Theater located in the heart of Railroad Square Art Park. Davidson first experienced Queer as Faust Cabaret as an audience member and joined the cast on stage soon after.
This year, the 15th Annual Cabaret runs from June 23 to July 2 as part of the “Queer as Faust Festival” to celebrate Pride Month.
Pride all year round
“Tallahassee doesn’t have such a big LGBTQ voice — don’t get me wrong, we’re here — but our scene isn’t as big as other places,” Davidson says. “Mickee Faust takes on the great responsibility of letting people know we are here. We spread that voice of happiness, equality and acceptance that is important not just during Pride Month, but throughout the year.
Years ago, Davidson never imagined she would be under the theater lights. She had participated in theater in high school, but was always the person who helped out behind the scenes. When she attended Florida State University for college, she originally thought she would become a doctor.
It was through her experiences with Faust that she realized she wanted to go into veterinary medicine. Davidson remembers sitting in the back of the theater studying for her GRE exams and the outpouring of support from the Faust community that helped her along the way.
She met her wife in Faust and is continually inspired by the writers, directors and other actors she works with daily. During Pride Month, Davidson can be seen in her rainbow cape skateboarding to and from the theater.
“Faust taught me a lot about understanding other people and it made me a better person,” Davidson says. “Everyone says you should walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Faust really puts you in that perspective to learn and understand the issues that other people might be going through.
While the Mickee Faust Club is known for its outlandish and humorous skits and parodies, Davidson says it’s also an important space to explore serious political and social themes.
One of Davidson’s most memorable productions had it heard in the head of one of his fellow Faustkateers who wrote about their mobility and communication issues living with cerebral palsy.
Davidson appreciates this personal approach to the creative process in Faust. Each original work is built from scratch thanks to the volunteers who make up the Faustkateer team. Davison says she gives up to 10 hours a week for rehearsals, not including buying costumes and creating sets and props.
“A two-minute skit can be something that took two years to prepare,” Davidson notes.
Another main difference between Mickee Faust and the traditional theater model is that everyone is invited to attend and contribute to directors’ and writers’ meetings. Davidson says all parts of the process are advertised as open to any creative who has an idea for a skit, play or production and wants to see their vision brought to life on stage.
She cautions actors more familiar with traditional theatrical practices not to be intimidated by Faust, but to embrace the collaborative process.
Davidson learned many new skills in lighting, writing and costuming during his time as Faustkateer, and says if an actor is willing to put in the work and take responsibility for their roles, anyone can flourish in this community theatre.
“If it’s not in your wheelhouse, there’s somebody who can teach you, and then you can teach somebody else,” Davidson says. “It’s run by people. We get donations, but if it wasn’t for the time we put in as Fauskateers, there wouldn’t be any shows.
Davidson says any nerves or butterflies in her stomach go away once she steps out on stage. She rolled downstairs in a shark costume pulling a silly string out of her gaping maw and throwing mud at herself for a rousing tale of a breakup fight.
As soon as she hears the first laugh or recognition from the audience, she gets a boost of serotonin and is ready to entertain.
“It’s like you’re flying,” says Davidson. “I hope people understand that Faust is a magical place. It’s a place where you can be yourself and feel wanted and included, regardless of your background or story. We are a place where if you feel lost, you can be found.
If you are going to
What: Queer like Faust XV Cabaret
When: 8 p.m. from Thursday June 23 to Saturday June 25; and 8 p.m. from Thursday, June 30 to Saturday, July 2
Where: Adelaide Schnittman Hall, 609-2 Railroad Square
Cost: $20 regular price, $5 discount on Thursday shows, $15 students, retirees and people with disabilities
Contact: For more information, visit mickeefaust.com.
Amanda Sieradzki is a feature writer for the Council for Culture and the Arts. COCA is the Capital Region’s umbrella agency for arts and culture (www.tallahasseearts.org).
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