An Interview with David, Not Daniel

Why are we talking to you, David, and not Daniel?

Because Daniel rarely does interviews. That shocks most theatre people—I think making a go of it in the theatre is so hard that everyone feels compelled to take whatever press they can get. But there have been media-averse artists and celebrities as long as there has been media. And I understand the reasons why—in addition to interviews not always being much fun, some artists feel that their art is meant to speak for itself. And Daniel doesn't seem to be after a certain kind of fame: he is regularly described as one of the best comics and storytellers of his generation, but he has no interest in commercial productions or TV or licensing deals or agents. Daniel prefers to carve out his little niche and fill it exactly like he wants to.

How did you first come to know Daniel Kitson's work?

I first saw him at St Ann's Warehouse in New York in maybe 2010. I've since seen him perform something like 8 other times, in New York and in Edinburgh. Which makes me, by American standards at least, a Kitson groupie/fanboy/expert/devotee.

How would you describe his work—monologues? Plays? Something else?

Well, he does a variety of things, which is part of the fun, and he still does stand-up sometimes, but the work in a more theatrical vein tends toward something I'll call 'word-drunk story-telling shows.' He almost always—but not always always—performs alone.

I know you're a fan. And Kitson has fans—super-fans even. What do you find so particular and compelling about his work? How would you account for this level of fandom?

I love how uncommon he is. 'He makes a distinctive noise in the world,' somebody said about him. His work is full of surprising and funny and sometimes profound observations about little details and overlooked people, presented with an astonishing hyperverbality—listening to him is like drinking language from a water hose. I like how inventive he is about form, and how he plays with truth and narrative reliability. I like that his work manages to be both detached/ironic and heartfelt. I like how devotedly analog much of his work is. Kitson is one of the most interesting show-makers alive. I think the guy is brilliant—and that's not a word I toss around casually.

Elevator pitch: Why should the DMV come see Keep.?

The DMV is lucky to have Kitson here—we're now the only place other than New York that he performs in this country. This guy has a cult following. His shows at Edinburgh Fringe sell out almost the instant they go on sale. He crashed the website at London's National Theatre when they announced a show of his was coming. Come find out why.