Since the 1980s, David Garver has acted, played music, filmed and even been real-life married on the stage of the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. "I have slept and eaten and hidden out there," he said. "During 'Waiting for Godot,' with the late great Robert Harnesberger, I stayed at the theater. In costume. (It was the beginning of my dreadful method-actor days.)"
The latest edition of Garver's ever-evolving one-man show, "Sage and Fool, Part II," returns to the TCA for one night only Sunday (Jan. 27), at 6 p.m. The critically acclaimed show has played to sold-out audiences in Taos, Santa Fe, Denver and Albuquerque.
"I designed the show in my head around the TCA, in that the actual physical space is a part of the show," Garver said. "It is more than just a setting. It's a character in itself."
He reminisced about some of the shows he's done on Taos's well-trodden stage. "I could tell a million stories -- about a quarter of them true! 'Cuckoo's Nest' with Judith Crooker directing and Bill Bolender, Rosemary Crawford, [Tempo editor] Rick Romancito and [Robert] Mirabal was my first time onstage in Taos. Back in 1980-something. In 'Waiting for Godot,' one night at the end of the first act I caught a moth flying about and put it in my pocket and continued the scene. When the papier-mâché moon with a light in it was lifted into the scene on a string, the moth flew from my pocket and landed on the moon! The audience applauded.
" 'Night of the Iguana' -- I would do that again. Anais Rumfelt was in that production. She is a great actor. A natural with powerful instincts, and a huge energy and presence. 'Hair' will always be a great memory, working with Marjorie Malone. Nanette True Marie was an absolute delight, and one of my sweetest moments was in a scene with her. A true angel. The second 'Cuckoo's Nest' was great, and Steve Parks stole the show in a minor role as the night guard. He was a beautiful actor. Our production of 'Equus' was as good as anything that's been done here, in my humble opinion. Marjorie Malone was and is one of the most talented people I have ever worked with. Her shows back in the '80s and '90s were the real deal. Stunning and moving. Professional. Ron Usherwood is as good as any director I've worked with anywhere."
This Sunday, Garver will bring an entourage of half a dozen of the dramatis personae with whom he generously shares space in his mind and body. "It's not your normal night of theater! Live music, film, Shakespeare, Elvis, Joe Schmo… pain and hope… love and death."
He offered glimpses of the six men:
• "Eugene is a middle-aged man in Illinois trying to reinvent himself as an Elvis impersonator. He is almost good… He is performing for his grandmother and friends at a retirement home. He does a live rockin' version of 'Burning Love.'
• "Arnie Stagliatary, a 62-year-old baseball manager on a once-great team with aging players. Post-game interview: 'Tommy Johnson is a poser! His socks look good but he can't hit. And he's so slow if he had a race with his pregnant wife he'd finish third!'
• "Danny O'Shea, 60 -- failed actor turned hit man. Performs Shakespeare for his victim. 'Welcome to my theater! Where the stakes are through the roof! Life or death!'
• "The Actor, 60. These are real auditions I've done for film and television. Auditioning for Bryan Cranston and rejection. He ends with an audition for Marc Anthony.
• "James Luca, singer-songwriter. He tells a story of his mother confronting a loud racist at a baseball game when he was 10. Then does a live performance of the song 'He Had a Long Chain On.'
• "Norm Stevens, father of a teenage girl meeting her first date. Originally this character was threatening toward the young man. This is truly an updated character who has evolved and uses a different approach. He is kind and engaging and honest. He is trying to be a better man. And his daughter is strong and independent and can take care of herself.
"This show is me, pretending to not be me by playing parts of me who are really me but in the end they're not," Garver said. "I'm at a place where I want to keep working and find my own voice theatrically. My own way of performing and doing theater. It's always developing. As an actor and a writer, I feel very close to these characters, obviously, and it's always me in there hiding out or sometimes front and center. It may sound selfish, but I'm more interested in finding my own voice and expressing that, rather than somebody else's. I can do that if I have to, play a role in someone's play or movie. But it's a job, really. An acting job.
"I hope I'm not coming off as pompous and all-knowing about acting and theater. But I do have strong opinions, and it takes tremendous effort to do it well. I have surely delivered some crap performances in my time, where people asked me personally for their money back," he said, laughing. "I always blamed the director."
Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. For advance tickets, visit tcataos.showare.com. Call (575) 758-2052 or check out tcataos.org.
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