Performer Chase Padgett takes on six different personalities in his one-man show 6 Guitars, but they all share the same message: Unity through music.
As a part of Calgary’s High Performance Rodeo, Padgett is performing his popular show, which debuted in 2010.
“The thesis of the show is that music is a metaphor for humanity and that our differences are negligible between genre or people,” said Padgett.
“The important thing is the unity of the voices and the intent behind them all.”
The creation of the show itself was a personal challenge for Padgett, who prior to doing it had spent his time working and graduating from school.
“I thought, what is the scariest thing I could possibly do, now that I have freedom to do anything?” Padgett said.
“Doing a one-person show seemed absolutely terrifying so I just sort of leaned into what I was comfortable doing, and what brings me a lot of joy.”
If you haven’t seen the show and notice Padgett acting like an 87-year-old black man while pretending that the tea he’s drinking is really whiskey, you’ll soon figure out that that’s one of his six characters, Tyrone Gibbons.
Gibbons is the character Padgett created for the blues style of music, which he said is the audience favourite.
“Even though it’s the one that is demographically removed from me the furthest, it’s the one I somehow feel like I’m in tune with the most,” Padgett said.
“There’s just something about that character and his attitude toward music that resonates.”
The other styles of music that Padgett created characters for are rock, jazz, country, folk and classical.
Many of the characters are based on real people that he has met, but they have been adapted to meet the show’s comedic needs.
Other characters include a jazz guy named Wes Tankerfeild who is pretentious and perhaps a bit too depressed for a virtuoso, classical guy Emmanuel Ortega who knows English as his fourth language and often makes really bad metaphors, and a spastic, distracted rock guy who Padgett said is modelled on himself.
“Country guy is loosely based on an amalgam of the country players that my dad wanted to become,” he said.
“All those characters are saying things that I believe in as Chase Padgett, so the lens is the character, but the light is my own.”
Padgett, who has been touring the show for seven years, said the characters have evolved over that period.
“Any performer will tell you that if you do a show 300 times, it’s going to change. It has got to change so you don’t lose your goddamn mind,” he said.
One of the changes was to include a Trump joke, something he did reluctantly.
“There’s only one because honestly, I live down there,” Padgett said.
The lens is the character, but the light is my own. -Chase Padgett
Politics aside, Padgett said that he continues to perform 6 Guitars because of the joy it brings him.
“I think it’s all chasing the same goal of fulfilling an artist’s desire to speak with our voice to the world, and to delight an audience at the same time,” he said.
6 Guitars will be playing until Jan. 28, starting at noon Monday to Saturday, and Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m. at Lunchbox Theatre.
Tickets are $15 to 25 per person.