Actors don’t always plan a break from their craft, especially when being on stage is a lifelong passion. But life happens, and there you are. This season, three actors make their way back after a long hiatus: Nick Garcia returns to Boise Contemporary Theater in “A Skull in Connemara,” a black comedy from Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. Longtime community theater icon Nancy Suiter and actress Jodeen Revere will both return to Alley Repertory for Gina Gionfriddo’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated drama “Rapture, Blister, Burn.”
Nick Garcia, 41, is a natural. Breezy, funny and with a flair for comedy and the sharper side of irony, he grew up in Boise learning to love theater. Garcia studied at Boise State, performed with Idaho Shakespeare Festival and at Boise Contemporary Theater in its early years, helping to open the company’s Fulton Street theater space in 2000 as the title character in Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.”
Then life took over. He ping-ponged across the country. He moved to New York City, where he tried to not do theater. But after six years, he returned to Boise, got involved with Alley Rep, started his own Empty Boat Theatre and a family with his partner, Hollis Welsh. The two moved to Los Angeles to try out the film scene, but with two young children, they decided to return to Boise where life is easier. He now writes commercial copy for Scentsy and is back on stage at BCT.
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“I’ve always loved theater the most, the immediacy — the communion with the audience, that feedback loop, you know, when what you do affects them, and vice versa,” he says.
Garcia plays Thomas Hanlon, a small-town cop in the dark Irish comedy “A Skull in Connemara,” the second in McDonagh’s “Leenane Trilogy.” It’s about Mick (Arthur Glen Hughes),whose job it is to exhume skeletons in an overcrowded graveyard every seven years. This year, he encounters the remains of his wife, whom he was once accused of killing. Hanlon must try to unravel the mystery.
Getting back into theater has been a kick, he says — exercising his acting muscles, working in dialect and reconnecting with old friends.
“I feel very fortunate,” Garcia says. “Boise is pretty cool. I marvel at how much talent is in this city and how much I took it for granted when I was younger.”
“A Skull in Connemara” opens Oct. 10, with previews starting Oct. 7.
Nancy Suiter had no choice but to be a performer.
“My mom put tap shoes on me when I was 4, and that was it,” Suiter, now 80, says.
Her first role was at Boise Little Theater in a production of Clifford Odets’ “The Country Girl” when she was 18, and she has performed there and at other community theaters in Boise for more than 60 years.
She also worked with Idaho Shakespeare Festival in the late 1970s at One Capital Center Plaza at 9th and Main streets.
“I like to think comedy is my forte, but I do it all,” Suiter says.
She took a break after her Eagle home was destroyed in 2010 and while she resettled in a new house in Eagle. Her last time on stage was in 2013 at Stage Coach Theatre in “Painting Churches.”
For the past two years, she’s been working to find the right opportunity, but found it elusive.
“The older you get, the fewer parts there are, especially for women,” she says. “But I think things are looking up.”
She was at the artist’s reception for Valentine For AIDS in February when Alley Rep artistic director Buffie Main approached her out of the blue to be in the company’s opening production of “Rapture, Blister, Burn,” a dramedy centered on three generations of women making life choices.
Two college friends — one who chose family, the other who chose career — reconnect and decide to trade lives. Suiter plays the mother of one of them.
“Three generations of women share their viewpoints on the second wave of feminism,” Suiter says.
Getting back on stage makes the world seem right again.
“I’ve missed it terribly. It’s my passion and, oddly, my relaxation,” she says. “It’s the thing I love the most. It kept me sane for all these years. As long as directors still want me, I’ll give them the best I’ve got.”
It’s been six years since Jodeen Revere appeared in a play at Alley Rep, and though she did a reading at BCT two years ago and appeared in its “SuperSecretSiteSpecificSomething” street performance, she’s missed the chance to perform.
“It wasn’t like I removed myself; it’s just what happened,” she says. “There are only so many roles and only so many for women in many shows.”
There also were a few distractions. Revere, 53, got her daughter, Lily Yasuda, off to college and fought a difficult battle with breast cancer — in two rounds.
“That took a whole year and a half,” she says. “And my whole world changed.”
The first round came in 2012. She decided on a lumpectomy, and then changed her diet: juicing, herbs, organic food, etc. But that only got her so far. Six months later, the cancer returned in the same spot, and it was time for stronger measures.
“I was much healthier and stronger then and was able to do the chemo,” she says. She had her breast removed and has been clear for nearly two years.
Now, stronger than ever, she continues to teach yoga in Boise and run her Thai massage practice, and is ready to get back on stage.
Next week, she opens in “Rapture, Blister, Burn” at Alley Rep. She plays Catherine, a feminist academic who is one of two women re-evaluating the choices made in their youth.
This production exemplifies for Revere the closeness of Boise’s theater community. Two years ago, she did a reading of it for BCT’s “5 X 5” reading series. Now, she’s in a production at Alley Rep.
“This community is so tremendous,” she says. “There doesn’t seem to be warring factions between theaters. People are very generous. I love being here and doing what I do.”
“Rapture, Blister, Burn” by Gina Gionfriddo opens at Alley Rep on Oct. 9, with a preview on Oct. 8. Details, 28