A Vocal Ambassador For The Arts
Buffalo News, Feb 21, 2010 by Jane Kwiatkowski

Margo Davis plays many roles on both sides of the stage curtain. As a voice actor, she has logged more than 700 commercial spots, and as a former high-school drama teacher she has motivated hundreds of students. Her "Write to Be Heard" playwriting competition for teens is in its 14th year, and through Arts in Health Care, Davis works regularly with hospitalized patients. In April, watch her perform on stage in "Noises Off" at Lancaster Opera House.

PeopleTalk: Tell me about one of your character voices.
Margo Davis: Last weekend for the first time I did an international video game. I was three voices for a game that is primarily played in Russia. I played the Angel of Death, a very low voice; a spiritual fantastical witch, which was lots of fun and more high-registered; and a flirty assassin.

PT: How many voices can you muster?
MD: It's sort of like: How many different sounds are there? It's kind of like mixing paint. I work it.

PT: When did you recognize the power of your voice?
MD: I still don't know if I do. I don't think it's my voice. I think it's my ability to see a script and analyze it, to figure out who am I, where am I, what do I want -- even in a silly little 30- second spot. That's where the acting comes in.

PT: Describe your voice.
MD: It's been described for me as being "warm and sunny with a slice of 'wry.'"

PT: Were you an overactive kindergartner?
MD: No. I was shy and retiring. I wore glasses. I was shorter than everyone else. I refused to wear anything but a skirt or dress and refused to climb on the jungle gym. Then there was the tomboy.

PT: You have such exuberance.
MD: I just had a banner birthday, one of those benchmark birthdays, and in so doing I decided to go to Kauai and work for Habitat for Humanity because I wanted to feel young and helpful rather than old and flabby. My family wasn't real thrilled because they wanted to give me a surprise party. Three houses were being built. I roofed, and I roofed again. The whole reason I got into that was I was fortunate enough to get into "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

PT: How so?
MD: They invited me to be on their fabrication team -- the curtains, window coverings, pillows. We were holed up all week in the Pierce Arrow Building. We made everything, instead of having each job parceled out. We thought it would make more sense if we all worked together. That was one of the many firsts for "Extreme Makeover" here.

PT: Where do you get this fabric sense?
MD: From being an art major. I worked in a fabric store as opposed to McDonald's.

PT: So your entire life revolves around the arts.
MD: I started in art when I was a kid. My mom was an artist, and I remember going to see John Cage when I was a teeny-tiny thing at the art gallery. I was going to be an artist, but I also wanted to be involved with people, so in college I got into set and costume design. Then I got on stage and I've been there ever since.

PT: What sparked the transformation into acting?
MD: At college I got disgusted by the food so I started only eating food that I could recognize and that limited me to carrots and milk. One afternoon I was chewing on some carrots, and a senior came up and asked me to be Rabbit in "Winnie the Pooh." She was a theater major working on her senior project. That was the beginning.

PT: Were you in your high school play?
MD: I was cast, ironically, as a dead person in "Our Town."

PT: Were you an adventurous actor?
MD: In Idaho, I auditioned for the Antique Festival Theatre sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. We toured on a school bus all over the Pacific Northwest and presented theater -- everything from "The Bourgeois Gentleman" to "The Streets of New York" -- to people who would otherwise have no theater.

PT: What do you do in your down time?
MD: Sit with a cup of tea and listen to music. Read or paint or watch video wallpaper, meaning TV that means nothing. I'm very visually oriented. Sometimes I walk with friends, especially in the winter time.

PT: Do you bring any of your creativity to the kitchen?
MD: I paint the walls all the time. Basically, my mantra is: If it takes longer to prepare than it does to eat, I don't make it.