Daniele Davi’, Software Engineer and Actor

Hi, my name is Daniele Davi, and I’m an explorer. A performer. A cook. A computer scientist. An eclectic human being. I’m a creative problem solver, a software engineer. I was born and raised in Palermo, Italy. I moved out to Tuscany, then to Rome where I lived and worked till 2014. Then the Italian crisis became a great opportunity for me. I moved to Ireland with my wife. A country we had never been before, and there was no one we knew. Far from relatives, friends… It was more than getting out the comfort zone. It was a jump into the void. It was and it is actually an exciting day-by-day discovery.

I work in a Medical Device Excellence award winning company. I don’t see my role as merely a developer. Mine is a profession that requires on one side a fine analytical mind-set, a rigorous methodology, and on another side, an endless stream of creativity. New problems require new solutions and new ways of finding solutions. I love traveling which brings me to explore new cultures and find new horizons. The desire of exploring different paths and passions is what I think defines me best.

I was at the beginning of the secondary school when we had our first computer at home. It came with a thick book -the user’s guide- and a thin book titled Programming in Basic. It’s easy to guess which one took my attention. I was spending more time writing code than playing games. I spent all my summer, days and nights programming without realizing how time was passing. My passion for computer science was born.

I started acting during my first year of university. I went to see a show where a friend of a friend was acting, and at the end, we went for a pizza together. I started imitating one of the actors repeating his lines, intonations, drama. They suggested me to contact their director to make an audition. Why not, I said. After the audition, the director asked me which acting school I attended, assuming I already had some sort of preparation or experience. None, I said. He asked: “How many years are you studying by yourself?” None, I repeated. He was surprised and said: ”We are not an amateur company. We are professional. You’ll be insured and paid. If you are looking for easy fame, this is not the right place to be. We are serious, and we expect you will be too. It’s not easy, there is a lot of work to do, a lot to learn, a lot to destroy and rebuild, but if you feel ready to start you can join us from next Monday”. My life changed that day. Well… the next Monday.

Theatre changed my life, my attitude towards the world, towards myself, and towards others. It pushes you continuously out of the comfort zone, makes you face new challenges every time. Creativity is innate, but without exercise, method, discipline, hard work, trainings, and persistence it can easily flop or vanish. It’s not just about fun. The need for creativity is everywhere in my life and this also enriched my search for new fresh experiences, not just within the theatre frame. I am what I am thanks to my artistic experiences.

Mounting a fine show and building a high-quality software are very similar processes: you need a solid technical preparation, you start with an idea and you build a team, go through Agile sprint iterations, rehearsals, requests for changes, tests, debut or go-live date. The result must be the same: a masterpiece.

Theatre educates you to be professional, to acquire skills and competencies instead of roughly claiming them, because you will be asked to show them. You wouldn’t dare to be on stage and say a word without being confident. It teaches you also self-control, to manage stress, to stand solid and firm on your feet, and to be ready to the greater stage of life, whatever your career challenge will be.

I played many different characters: some from the classical repertoire of Shakespeare, Pirandello, Beckett, Camus, Sartre, Chekov, Rostand, Hugo, Goethe, Boccaccio; some others were modern and contemporary roles which in few occasions were written or adapted to fit my profile or match my acting style.

Once with my Sicilian acting company, we were performing a play in Rome written by our Maestro, and we were all very excited. While the curtain was starting to open, a strong, painful cramp took control of my right calf muscle- I still remember the panic and pain. Initially, I couldn’t move so I thought to myself, what do I do now? I started asking myself what my character would do if this was happening to him? I improvised. I started yelling at my leg pretending even I was punching it, like an old complaining servant would do and when finally I could move I advanced limping and saying my lines. That night my character went on limping and yelling at his leg consistently till the end. Audience was laughing, not knowing all that extra parts were not supposed to happen. The director was initially furious at me because it was a historical play, and he was worried about the respect of historical sources, but at the end our play won the prize as the best historical play! Once we won the prize the director asked me to keep the new acting style afterwards. The typical case of a bug becoming a feature!

When I moved to Ireland, I stopped acting. Despite my language proficiency, exhibiting, writing and performing in a non-native language posed some challenges that should not be ignored. I respect the art, the stage, the audience, and myself. Hopefully soon I will be comfortable in performing plays in a non-native prose. In the meanwhile I’m joining some performance meet-ups and trainings. I had the opportunity to join the Dublin Contact Improvisation group and follow a workshop organized in collaboration with the Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company based in Derry. I currently dedicate time on writing plays, and soon I will publish my first book.

Follow your dreams. Study a lot. Study many methods, techniques, and instruments. See as many shows as you can. Travel and attend the international theatre festivals. Just do it. Get in touch with companies, directors and other artists. Be ready to take a lot of shit. Directors will yell at you, family may not agree with your choices, friends may not always be as supportive as you would like. There will be difficult choices to make – something to leave behind, or something new to embrace. Abandon your fears. Be free. Don’t take it as joke. Art doesn’t have to be suffering on purpose; theatre can be light and graceful. It requires your attention, your dedication, your energies, your love, and your passion.

Checkout Daniele’s blog here!

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