Actor David Gabriel is performing in “Broadway out of the Blue”, a new musical comedy review currently playing at BLUE-Greek on Granite in Ashland. David is also preparing for his as John Adams in “1776” at the New Camelot Theatre in Talent. We chatted about acting at Ashland’s Boulevard Coffee.
DG: Acting always seemed to me as a means to an end because I write songs and musicals. In order to learn about the musical genre, what better way to do it, but from the inside? I came at it as a singer, and learned acting as I went along.
EH: You’ve played some dark characters. How do you access those personalities?
DG: We’ve all experienced a lot of different people in our lives. We all have within us the potential for the qualities of all those characters. It’s just a matter of being permeable and knowing that we are all capable of all of that.
EH: Do you like to audition?
DG: Actually I do. If I can get to the place where I realize, “You’re either what they’re looking for, or you’re not. Who knows where this is going to go? But, you’re going to have fun doing it.” Then I’ve had a lot more success getting roles. When we’re in fear, when we’re constrained, constricted, or tight, it’s hard for the natural personality to come out.
EH: Why is acting such an adventure?
DG: It’s meeting the challenge of the present moment. To be present in a scene with other actors is an amazing gift. There is such a call to consciousness. To access those parts of ourselves that we don’t ordinarily access, has given me opportunities for new experiences.
When you are part of a cast, the confidence and sense of togetherness that you have is a pretty amazing thing. I always liken it to the kind of camaraderie and loyalty that comes up when people are in a battle situation, because on stage you really have to depend on one another. It’s very much an interdependent sort of thing. There can be a lot of closeness engendered. You get close in a short period of time. If all the actors don’t bring their energy, focus and intention, then all hope is lost.
EH: What is the appeal to theater audiences?
DG: Ever since people began communicating, we’ve been about stories that show us who we are and where we’ve been. The stories that are told live, on the stage, impart worlds. There’s the actual exchange of energy that we can’t get from any other medium. There’s some form of emotional or spiritual feeding that’s going on. We feed each other with these stories and embolden and inspire each other. It’s all our perception. Because it’s live, because we are about giving energy, because our senses are tapped-in, in the same way that we would be tapped-in in the forest, hearing the birds, and smelling the trees, there’s more sensory input.
There have been long periods where I’ve purposefully tried to forget myself as a performer. Life is really awful when I do that. There’s a part of me that doesn’t really feel alive. I always come back to it, because there’s a certain life, joy and expression. We’re all here to discover our voice and our talents and try to give them to the world, because all we have to give is who we are.
To access “Broadway out of the Blue” at BLUE — Greek on Granite in Ashland, visit: bluegreekongranite.com. Call: (541) 708-5150 for reservations and information.
“1776”, plays June 20 – July 22 at the New Camelot Theatre in Talent. For information and reservations, call: 541-535-5250.
Evalyn Hansen is a writer and director living in Ashland. She trained as an actor at the American Conservatory Theatre and is a founding member of San Francisco’s Magic Theatre.