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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

20 questions with Dawson Nichols

Meet playwright, performer, and educator Dawson Nichols.

Dawson Nichols next appears in Virtual Solitaire as part of The Fringe Presents series that brings programming outside the Vancouver Fringe Festival. Since Virtual Solitaire’s 1997 debut and 2000 Vancouver Fringe run, technology has advanced exponentially, and so too has its ability to leave users feeling isolated, disconnected, and sometimes addicted. In Virtual Solitaire, Nathan is addicted to full immersion virtual reality. He’s had the surgery, but can’t afford the bandwidth anymore. He turns to testing games for cash, but gets trapped in one when the characters take over his brain and body — and he can no longer tell the difference between his virtual reality and his real life. Virtual Solitaire plays Studio 1398 (1398 Cartwright St, Granville Island) Mar 17-29. Visit for tickets and more information.

Meet Dawson Nichols

Dawson Nichols is a playwright, performer, and educator – currently the head of the Theater Department at North Seattle College.  He has written more than two dozen original plays and adaptations, but he is best known for his solo works which have toured extensively throughout North America and abroad.  Among his full-length plays-for-one-person are I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe, Three Descents of Darwin, Jekyll, Stop Start, and Virtual Solitaire.  Dawson lives on an urban farm in Seattle with his wife and two daughters, eight chickens (keep them out of the garden!), eight rabbits (keep them away from each other!), three cats (keep them out of the bed!), and soon a puppy.  When he’s not teaching or touring, Dawson geeks out on astronomy.  A clear mountain night, a star-blasted sky and someone to share it with.  Nothing better.

20 Questions with Dawson Nichols

1. Your first job.

So, I had lots of jobs pre and during college.  Dishwasher, waiter, hotel room cleaner, grounds keeper, resident advisor.  But the better answer is my first job after college. CIA. It’s true. However, it was a publishing organization named Chef’s in America.  Go figure.

2. The job you always wanted as a child.

Vet.  Not original, I know. But like many kids, I loved animals.  Still do.  At our house in Seattle we host three cats, nine chickens, and eight rabbits. Our dog just passed.  Give us a month or so and there will likely be another.

3. Your pet peeve.

Restaurants that don’t bring you water with your meal.

4. Your hero.

Don’t believe in ’em.  Villains either.

5. Your biggest indulgence.


6. One thing no one knows about you.

I have a fear of frog eggs.

7. Three things you would want with you on a deserted island.

Is it a nice island?  ‘Cause if it is, I’d invite my wife and two daughters.  But if it’s some rocky, desolate place … a Skidoo and an extra, very large tanks of gas, and sunscreen.

8. The one word your best friend would use to describe you.


9. If you were not a performer what would you be doing right now?

Philosophy or stone carving.

10. Hero or villain.

See #4, above.

11. Your life’s motto/mantra.

Just do it. I had this one WAY before Nike, I swear!

12. Your favourite playwright.

It changes.  Just now, Seneca.

13. The last book you read.

“Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris.

14. If you were a cartoon character what cartoon character would you be, and why?

Sneezy.  I have a cold.

15. What will it say on your grave marker?

I hope to be ashes with no marker.  After the CIA I went to work for the Neptune Society, a cremation service in San Francisco.  If you worked there a year you got free services upon your own demise.  I worked there a year and three days.

16. Who would you most like to have dinner with?

My wife, actually.  But if not her, how about a really influential producer.  None spring to mind – I’m not part of that crowd.

17. Your idea of happiness.

This is a new one for me.  I need more time.

18. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your twenty year old self?

Invest in Apple.

19. The one thing in your life that makes you most proud.

My daughters.

20. To be or not to be?

‘Not to be’ is coming too quickly, and you’ll experience it whether you want to or not.  So for now, be like a cheesy musician and ‘do be do be do.’

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