Best Local Actor (2001)

Pat Watson

It's been quite a year for Pat Watson, the technical director over set construction at Dallas Children's Theater who's emerged as one of the city's most versatile performers on the basis of a very short résumé--four roles at Pegasus and two with Theatre Quorum. He displays a strangely serene authority that travels well from futuristic political satires to intentionally silly musicals to tense psychological dramas. Sound-Biting had him reproducing Dubya's myopic squint and smugly ingratiating smile as a gubernatorial candidate who changes positions in mid-televised debate as the poll numbers change based on viewers' mercurial tastes. He played the villain Black Bart in Cowboys!, a musical about gay cowpokes trying to save the ranch, and turned a manipulative seduction into a personal revelation for his character--Bart really does like kissing guys--with one body-melting pratfall. In One Good Beating at the Festival of Independent Theatres, he was the timid kid brother trapped between his cruel father and coercive sister, between a desire for revenge and a fear of his own impotence. It may not be possible for Watson to surprise us with another facet of his range, but we look forward to finding out.