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Art Works

Summer 2002

Radio series offers
intimate visits with writers

Program highlights

Mentor shares art and life

The creative mentor

The Griffin & the Minor Canon

Interview with David Selby

What is W;t about?

Quality arts education?

How can I help students in my
community get a quality arts

WV songwriters on new CD

Quilting the Sun: Journey of
a Play

Dance from your heart

New festival celebrates

An interview with David Selby

In the midst of promoting The Griffin & the Minor Canon, for which he supplies the voice of the Griffin, actor David Selby took time to answer a few questions for ArtWorks.

AW: At West Virginia University, you started out in business and marketing, but then switched to drama and theater by graduate school. Why?

Selby: West Virginia did not offer a degree in drama and theater, only in speech. So I could take the courses offered and still stay in marketing. When I entered college, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. My advisor happened to be from the theater department, and he encouraged me to take some classes there, which I did.

David Selby

AW: You’ve done such a varied range of performance — Shakespeare, off-Broadway, television, feature film. How do these compare to voice performance for animated film?

Selby: Each has its own peculiarities. This particular voice performance allowed me to be a totally different character from any I could play physically. At the same time, the Griffin has very human emotions.

AW: This is a project of public broadcasting. What is the place of nonprofit agencies in an era of the ‘entertainment industry’?

Selby: We’ve always had nonprofit theater. That’s the reason support for the National Endowment of the Arts is so important. It enables those ventures that aren’t viable commercially to be done. Much of the art that goes on in this country is probably nonprofit in every state.

AW: What attracted you about this project?

Selby: I liked the idea of the myth’s being used as a teaching tool. It was fun to give a voice to the Griffin. It was all West Virginia talent. Most importantly, the finished product will go out to the schools with a study guide that illustrates how valuable myths are in the teaching process.

AW: You were friends with Chris Sarandon at WVU. Had you worked with him before?

Selby: Chris and I acted together there, and in Honey in the Rock.

AW: Although your career has taken you elsewhere, you have kept close ties to West Virginia.

Selby: I believe that people are “stamped” as to where they come from. I don’t believe it happens any more in West Virginia than anywhere else. I think family is very important in West Virginia and has long been so because the mountains made travel difficult in the past, and family members had to depend on each other.

AW: What can we do here in West Virginia to encourage young people to participate in theater?

Selby: We have to provide good teachers, good environment, community involvement with schools. We need to produce students with strong self-esteem, patience — all those things needed for the creative field, as well as any other field. Students need to feel that their ideas count for something and that they are part of something exciting, something worth participating in.