This week, TRUE STORY is lucky to have David Blue Garrison as our monologist. David is a writer, producer, director, and actor. As Founding Director for The Alternative Arts Collective (TAAC), and creator of Midtown Blue, he's a busy guy. Very busy.
He's currently directing Steel Magnolias, which premieres September 4th, at Blacktop Comedy! September 4th happens to be TAAC's five year anniversary too! Over the past 5 years TAAC has staged Hamlet, MacBeth, Bug, Quills, Angels in America, and the acclaimed Midsummer Nightmare series, and so many more. I first became aware of TAAC when I saw their production of Equus in Roseville.
He's a thoughtful artist, who creates exquisite productions. He sat down to answer a few questions. Enjoy, and come meet David in person this Saturday at TRUE STORY, 8:30pm, at Blacktop Comedy in Rocklin
*Who Inspires You? Who is Your Role Model?
Annie Leibovitz is a role model for me. Annie is one of those visual artists that has found her tone and voice in photography to a point where she seems effortless on set. I know in reality she's working incredibly hard and using all that she has learned to execute her projects, but she's defined her style and I love that about her.
David Bowie is another person that I really look up to. He's fearless in his execution of 'art' and doesn't seem to do it for the reviews, the fame or recognition. I aim to be the kind of artist that doesn't please all audiences, because If I did, it would mean I'm softening or curbing my style to please a general crowd and I wouldn't want to sacrifice creativity for ticket sales. So, he inspires me in that way.
Oh and Stoic from the How To Train Your Dragon books/movies. My wallpaper on my phone says, "Be Stoic."
* What do you enjoy most about your job?
Which job? Ha! The thing I love the most about The Alternative Arts Collective is giving artists of varying styles and mediums an environment to create in. When actors or costumers are pumped about something they are doing with TAAC, it's gratifying. It's a real feeling of success and fulfillment to know that we can supply that space for people.
The other thing I love about my 'job' is the reward of pleasing, inspiring, entertaining an audience with the honesty in our stories. Which is backed up by our expertise in lighting, sound, set design. It's a wonderful thing that people still talk about shows we did almost 5 years ago.
* Do you ever get starstruck?
Only when I see Paul or Betsaida at BlackTop Comedy. Also... no. I mean, I'm a star myself... ;-)
* What role would you love to play/ be your dream role?
I've been lucky. I think I've played all my dream roles. Some even twice. The Emcee in Cabaret, Prior in Angels In America, Fagin in Oliver. I'm more excited by original works now. Playing new characters and really discovering who they are for the first time is really cool. However, I REALLY REALLY want to play Hamlet. It's kind of a secret dream role of mine... which I just revealed...
* What do you do when you’re not working?
Sleeping. Thanks to TAAC's Executive Director, my schedule is pretty jam packed. She knows exactly what I'm doing and where I need to be for the next 6 months. And we're fortunate that we are so busy... but there really is little time for anything else. It's a good thing I love what we do! But yeah... sleeping. Big fan.
* What work are you most proud of?
There are some photographs I've done that I really love. 90% of it is how beautiful the subject is. I have some of those pieces hanging in my office. A couple of things I've directed that I'm totally proud of would be Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, Our Town & The Visit. Those specifically in my mind really stand out for me as big accomplishments. And roles I've done that I feel very proud of would be Prior in Angels In America (both times), Noah in In Switch & Bud Frump in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.
* Why have you succeeded in a field where so many others have struggled?
It's all about perseverance and hard work. I see people all the time saying, "I'm going to LA" or "I'm gonna open up a company" and very little do I see any of the necessary groundwork being laid before taking that plunge. People are so desperate for the title not the achievement. Many times those people don't last very long in either field; acting or producing. The other thing I see quite often is that when things get tough, people just give up. TAAC has been through 3 moves, a fire, losing staff, etc. And each time we asked ourselves if we were having fun, if what we were doing was important and desired by our community. So far the answer has been yes. So we knuckle down and get to work! Misplaced passion also gets in the way of what people actually want to do. You want to open a company? No you don't, you just want to act in shows you like. You want to go to LA and be in films? No... you just want to get laid. So I guess that's three answers. Not enough hard work, not sticking to it when things get tough and misplaced passion.