In 2011, Taos actor-musician-writer-yogi David Garver premiered an original one-man show, "The Age Between Sage and Fool." Garver portrayed a series of men navigating their midlife …
In 2011, Taos actor-musician-writer-yogi David Garver premiered an original one-man show, "The Age Between Sage and Fool." Garver portrayed a series of men navigating their midlife years. His incarnations included a chatty baseball manager, a spiritual sex guru for men, and an unemployed actor-turned-hitman, to name a few. The critically acclaimed production played to capacity audiences around the Southwest.
This weekend, Garver is back with a new cast of inner personae. "Sage and Fool, Part II" opens today (Oct. 25) at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. Performances continue each night through Saturday (Oct. 27) at 7 p.m., including a Sunday (Oct. 28) matinee at 2 p.m.
The show will feature three brand new characters as well as new insights from three of the men of the previous edition. The production includes live musical performances, film vignettes and video transitions.
Garver spoke candidly about the inspiration for the original show and the journey to this week's revisitation.
"A trip to Paris in my 50th year was shattering in the most positive way, and really where these ideas for the first show began. I had traveled quite a bit in America, but Paris opened up something huge. One of my characters says about being moved by the "Mona Lisa": 'What is common for one man is a life-changing event for another.' I was basically still a country hick up until that trip. And being there with my wife just made it so exciting and inspiring.
"It was an amazing, wonderful trip, but the plane ride home -- I was despondent. I was ecstatic! My mind was blown. I was madly in love. I felt like a total failure, a poser -- and never more inspired. The show was a way for me to put myself together again. To ponder death for the first time on a real level. Like thinking in this moment, 'Would it be okay if I died right now?' And the answer was and is, 'NO! F**k No!' I guess I want to be at the place where one day I'll say, yes, and it will be okay. In the meantime, I think it's important to be creative. For me, anyway. Focusing on your breath for five minutes. Writing a play. Singing changes your cells, man!"
"Sage and Fool Part II" takes place five years later.
"The dialogue mirrors things happening now," he said. "The new characters are fresh ideas and reflections on this thing we are in now. In this corporate world of artifice and digital and fake and facade and lies, the truth is always present. Even more now, I think. Men have to wake up to the idea of another world in order to create one. We can pray for divine intervention or some quantum leap. Or, we can hold staff meetings in three feet of water!"
Garver spoke about the key influences that have informed his work, starting with playwright William Shakespeare, whose tragedy "Romeo and Juliet" inspired Garver's band, the Bones of Romeo.
"I'm always interested in effective ways of inserting Shakespeare into my pieces. And my songs. Not to overwhelm the audience, but just enough for them to ponder and digest. All of my characters quote Shakespeare, even the baseball manager. Shakespeare is a part of their lives and influences them.
"I'm reading a lot of black history. W.E.B. Du Bois. Malcolm X. I've also been reading Chris Hedges. As an ordained minister and a journalist, he has an interesting and frightening take on the state of things. I've been listening to singer Jason Isbell for a year now, nonstop. He is a voice for the bewildered white man waking up but not having the right tools just yet. My characters are doing the same. Realizing some truths, but not having the skills yet."
Iconic singer Elvis Presley has been another lifelong influence. "One of my characters is from Illinois. Country school education, doesn't farm, doesn't own land and works in a slaughterhouse. He had a brief career locally as an Elvis impersonator. In his 50s he tries to do it again. He is almost good. Elvis, I think, was someone to admire and emulate. It's too bad he was reduced to a cliche because he was gifted and had other dreams. So does this character. I still want to rock and roll … but I can't shake a leg without making a little bit of a fool of myself. Now I'm leaning toward Frank Sinatra and the blues."
Coming up next for Garver will be a Dec. 22 concert with friend and fellow Taos-bred actor Arron Shiver. "People don't know it, but he is a damn good songwriter. I've written some new songs, and I may paint paintings in the living room all winter."
He spoke about the special nature of live performance. "I want people to know that the live interactions are crucial. And laughter. I wanted my show to be entertaining. All of the transitions in my show happen with film. There are two live musical performances by characters. As an artist and human, I couldn't sit around and bitch and moan anymore. My show is not a preaching to the choir. It is a reflection and an observation. The vulnerability of men, and their flaws… and their potential."
Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. For more information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.
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