Dave Jadico, one of two area residents behind a new production, brings an original silent piece to the stage.
Silence is golden. At least, Queen Village’s Dave Jadico and co-star and co-writer Aaron Cromie hope so.
“The piece is silent, meaning the characters don’t speak at all,” Jadico, from Sixth and Carpenter streets, said of yesterday’s world premiere of “Dave and Aaron Go To Work.” “There is no dialogue but there is a music score and soundtrack.”
Jadico and Cromie — who have been working together in Philadelphia more than 10 years — brought the new piece “to life after six years in the making with a little help from 1812 Productions.
“We were working on a piece for 1812 Productions, both Aaron and I were in that show, and it had a hat juggling part in that show. It was sort of a vaudeville production and we got to playing around since I’m a juggler also,” Jadico, 43, said. “We created these characters for a short Fringe piece called ‘Two Hats, Two Heads.’”
The new work is an extension of that Fringe Festival show that received community support to get off of the ground.
“It sat on the back burner for five years. Then Jennifer Childs, who runs 1812, said they had an opening this year in the holiday/December slot and she asked us about the show,” Jadico said of the work that can be seen at Plays and Players Theater until Dec. 31. “A year ago 1812 raised some money to help us workshop it and now it’s finished.”
The finishing touches, however, were being perfected up until the curtain opened. Jadico, who also does set design, was stacking books on the set’s shelves over the holiday break and the five-person cast — three of whom are not seen — were bringing all of the magic together just last week.
“There are three other people working behind the scenes to do the stage magic and puppetry and special effects,” he said. “That was our intention from the beginning. We both have extensive training in clowning and physical comedy, so we’ve performed silently many times in different shows.
“We’re both very comfortable with what is often referred to as clowning but it’s really more like what you see in Cirque du Soleil — they tell a story, which is why the silent film reference is a good reference, like the Charlie Chaplain films that tell a story.”
A veteran of Philly stages, this is the first large-scale piece that Jadico has created and brought to audiences. Though it was a milestone undertaking, the seasoned performer and artist doesn’t feel any of the first-time jitters.
“I don’t really get nervous anymore. I feel anticipation and I get excited,” he said. “It’s comedy so you really don’t know till the last character is there and the last character is the audience. So when they show up, then we’ll know what kind of show we have.”
Jadico’s Father Thomas hails from 17th Street and Oregon Avenue, while his mother Angie (nee Acerbo) grew up at 11th and Morris streets. When Jadico and his many siblings arrived, however, the family moved to Bucks County.
“My mom and dad are both Italian, and my grandfather owned a grocery store at 11th and Morris,” he said. “They didn’t speak any English since they were Italian immigrants.”
Before Jadico moved back to his parents’ hometown in 2005, he grew up playing the saxophone, guitar and piano, and dreaming of a career in the arts.
“I was actually going to go into music but under my parents advice we thought engineering would be smarter if I was trying to make a living,” Jadico said of his 1987 freshman year at Drexel University where he majored in architecture. “After a year, I realized more that I wanted to get into the arts. I shifted to music, which was more my speed.”
Jadico completed a curriculum focused on recording and saxophone, but his design and fabrication background would later come back into play with his set design work. Drexel also offered him the opportunity to get a taste of the bright lights at center stage.
“[In] my senior year in college I did my first show, ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.’ I really liked it,” he said. “Instead of going off looking for a music job, I auditioned.”
Jadico landed a theater job outside the city that lasted a year, but a new artistic outlet would help form his current creation process.
“ComedySportz had an ad saying they were having auditions so I just went to an audition,” Jadico, who is the current artistic director of the group for which he has performed with for 18 years, said. “That’s where I learned how to be an actor.”