Revolutionary, wordsmith, and world explorer, Waldo “Van” Driver spread his wisdom in the West Village as part of The Cherry Lane Theater’s Cherry Pit Late Nite series – a flashback to the dawn of the Age of Aquarius, Van Driver is a 1960’s style happening exploring life-altering experiences and the bohemian counter-culture.
Waldemer Driver, best known as “Van” was, in the early 1970s, a founder and leader of a spiritual commune in Pismo Beach known as the Starting Place, lead singer of the experimental psychedelic rock band, The People’s Liberation Bohemian Drum Orchestra, and an early creator of experimental performance art.
Born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Driver was a highly-decorated Marine veteran and martial arts expert by his 20s. After moving to California to become a Hollywood actor, he was heavily influenced by the L.A. beatnik scene and began to live a natural lifestyle, maintaining a vegan diet and “living according to Nature’s Laws.” Driver studied philosophy, religion, and esoteric spiritual teachings, even becoming a Vedantic monk for a time.
In 1969, Van founded the wildly popular Scrum Juice Garage on the Sunset Strip. The “Garage” served organic vegan food, and Scrum, a green ‘super juice’, to such celebrity regulars as George Harrison, Sammy Davis Jr., and Marlon Brando.
In the early 1970’s, Waldermar fused his own experiences with his Eastern religions and Waldo Driver evolved into Van Driver, the patriarch to a group of young people devoted to his teachings and philosophies. The group, supported by the earnings of the Scrum Garage (which often grossed $10,000 a day during its peak popularity), became the Spiritual Mechanics, a collection of over a hundred men and women living together in a commune outside of Pismo Beach.
The philosophies of the ‘Mechanics’ have been kept secret by its members; however, they generally adopted a way of life that promoted, among other things, natural living and dying.
***SPOILER ALERT – continue reading to ruin your experience:
Disguised as the play “Why Won’t You Pick Up Our Garbage,” Van Driver and his
outlandish family of hippy hitchhikers are the brainchild of…
Jason Schuler and his acting troupe, The Operating Theater Company. “The main idea of the piece is to break down the fifth wall; the fourth wall being between the performers and audience, and the fifth being between the audience and the rest of the world.” They accomplish this feat by involving the audience in rites and rituals and continuing the performance even as they leave the theater, audience in tow. The show originally performed at the Cherry Pit Late Nite series in The Cherry Lane’s Studio Theater for a single weekend in, but was so popular with audiences, that the group has reprised the production with new material and the support of the Cherry Lane. This is their third reprise of the popular event.
Take a magic carpet ride with Van Driver! ~a living museum, a 1960s style happening, and a character driven narrative created as a site-specific performance event.
This production is made possible courtesy of Cherry Lane Theatre, Angelina Fiordellisi, Artistic Director.