Life is drama: From IG to TV

  • Published
  • By Meredith March
  • 66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
It is a rare person who has been not only an Army Soldier and an Air Force investigator, but also a milkman, a funeral director, a reporter and even a thief. David Ross, 66th Air Base Wing Inspector General Investigations and Inquiry specialist, has played all of these roles, and more. He has spent his adult life as a servicemember and civil servant, and has recently added professional actor to his résumé, earning a small role on a national cable television show. 

Mr. Ross began acting nearly two years ago, after taking an acting class at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. "I walked out of that class thinking, 'You know, I can do this,'" he said. 

He promptly signed up for another class, which prepared him for his first performance in front of a live audience. "We performed a monologue and scene study for family and friends. I noticed that when I performed the scene study with my partner, the audience seemed to be reacting and laughing when they were supposed to -- even though we were flubbing our lines -- so I felt pretty good about that," he said. 

Fresh off the success of his acting debut, Mr. Ross began seeking roles in professional venues in the Boston community. His first professional role was in a Wakefield Repertory Theatre production of "Our Town." "I played 'Howie the milkman' and 'Joe Stoddard the funeral director,'" he said. "That was really fun and interesting; there's nothing like live theatre." 

In addition to community theatre, Mr. Ross has also acted in both student and professional films. His abilities recently impressed the director of Showtime's "The Brotherhood," winning him a speaking role and appearance in the Oct. 7 episode. "It's a very small role, but I had to go through the audition process and compete to get it -- and I wasn't the only one who wanted that role," he said. "I enjoyed myself on the set of 'The Brotherhood' immensely. It was a very rewarding and educational experience." 

Mr. Ross' dual roles as a civil servant and actor occasionally collide to benefit the Hanscom community. Mr. Ross uses his acting skills on base by actively participating in base readiness scenarios. His scenario roles have included playing a reporter for public affairs training and a base lodging and medical clinic thief for security forces trainings. 

Believability is important during BREs because, "They want [the BRE scenarios] to be as real to life as possible, so in the event something does happen, people remember how they've dealt with the situation before. That's part of readiness and being prepared. Readiness requires constant training, constant improvement, doing things better, making sure that the processes we have in place work or adjusting them when necessary," he said. 

Though government service and acting may seem unrelated, they are, in fact, complementary, Mr. Ross said. 

"My government career has definitely helped me in preparing for something like this. One of the things I'm finding in my government career is that change is a constant. You have to be able to go with the flow, change with a moment's notice, or sometimes with no notice. In my limited acting experiences, what I see is that on the set or in the theater, change is a constant also. Murphy's Law is always present; whatever can go wrong will at the worst possible moment. It happens in the theatre and on the set, and it gives me the flexibility to handle change. As an actor, you have to be able to laugh at one moment, and cry at the next. I would say these careers are very complementary. Life is drama. If you're involved in life, you're involved in drama."