Writing a short bio blurb has always been a very onerous process for me, especially for inclusion in a theater program. I’ve been involved in theater for close to 40 years – since I entered my freshman year of high school in 1975. My first taste was as the narrator of a Christmas pageant when I was 8-years-old, but I didn’t pick it up again “seriously” until high school. The reason for that is simple. In my small New Mexican hometown there weren’t any other opportunities to exercise that desire, short of “acting out” in class and that never led to anything but recriminations and a sore butt.
High school was a different story. There I joined the drama club and immersed myself in theater. Luckily I had a teacher for whom theater was a true passion. He infected me with that passion and I have never looked back. Since that time, I have acted, directed, produced and pretty much done every backstage task imaginable, from creating props, costumes and marketing materials to sound design, construction and even puppeteering. I’ve also co-founded or helped launch three different theater troupes, had several of my own plays professionally produced and even taken on the role of theater critic for whatever publication would hire me. Yet, still I find it difficult to write a simple program bio.
Honestly, I think it has far less to do with cramming a lifetime’s worth of experience into a single paragraph and more to do with simple diffidence. Despite the fact I’ve been doing this longer than some of my fellow actors have been alive, it doesn’t mean I don’t still feel like a novice. I’m always learning something new and, quite frankly, am perpetually blown away by the talent that surrounds me. For some, this pursuit comes as second nature. For me, it’s always been a challenge. Writing a bio means having to sit down and really think about those challenges. Not my favorite pastime.
What do I enjoy? Right now, I’m enjoying the process of returning to the stage as an actor after an eight-year hiatus. I wasn’t sure it would ever happen again, frankly, mainly because these days I tend to get far more enjoyment out of writing dialog than I do in reciting it. Still, there is nothing quite like the experience of working in unison with a group of talented actors to bring words on a page to life for an eager audience. Nothing.
And what an experience this has been. Under the direction of the immensely talented Algernon d’Ammassa, I and six other much more talented actors are bringing Harold Pinter’s absurdist masterpiece “The Hothouse” to the stage at the Black Box Theater in downtown Las Cruces. Mine is a very small role, which is just fine by me for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was time considerations (I’ve got a LOT on my plate, these days!). Joining me on this journey has been a dream cast, consisting of close personal friends and actors I have admired for some time.
Working with every one of them has far surpassed any expectations I may have had when I entered into this thespian pact. They are all professional, courteous and seriously engaged in cranking up the wow factor on this production to the point that even those who aren’t really fans of Pinter will find something to like. I have been mesmerized by the interactions of these actors, who have taken a somewhat staid drama about the final days of a civil servant tyrant and his lackies and turned it into a ballet of exquisite character interaction and priceless moments. It is, in a word, electrifying.
To have even the smallest of roles amongst this ensemble has been a delight. Couple it with an equally dynamite crew and it’s been an unbeatable experience. Even now, with opening night just one away and three solid weekends of performances to look forward to, I am excited by the prospect. No second guessing. No regrets. No looking back. I’m ready to get out there and run with the big dogs. This is going to be FUN!
Add to all this, the completely unexpected experience of having one of my own plays being produced right down the street at the Las Cruces Community Theater, as part of its annual One Act Play Festival. Even more, it will be staged on the final week of the Hothouse run. Which means, while I’m on stage at the Black Box, my play The Real Thane will be on stage at LCCT. Sadly, I can’t be in both places at the same time, but how many actor/playwrights can make the claim? As my friend Britney just recently said, it will be a “whole weekend of David Salcido.”
To me that doesn’t sound particularly appetizing, but she seems fairly excited by the prospect. In some ways, so am I. Maybe that’s because I don’t have to watch me. I just get to do something I love, with people I really dig, while one of my literary children gets exposure a few blocks away. That’s an experience one simply cannot buy with food stamps. Now, if I could just find a way to make writing a theater bio fun…