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Great Arts at Eastern talks with Adam Whittredge of ENMU Department of Theatre & Digital Filmmaking

Jeff Gentry:  And now Great Arts at Eastern from the Portales campus of Eastern New Mexico University. I'm Jeff Gentry, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, here on KENW, your Public Radio Network. Today my guest is Adam Whittredge of ENMU Department of Theatre and Digital Filmmaking. He is the designer and technical director for American Voices opening tonight for a live four day run via streaming video. Adam, thank you for joining me today.

Adam Whittredge: Thank you for having me on Doctor Gentry.

Jeff Gentry:  Yeah, last week. Doctor Beck was on and we talked about American Voices. It was our season premiere. And I'm really excited to report that we now have our Fine Arts events calendar that is posted. So American Voices on there another so our listeners can just go to www.enmu.edu/fineartsevents to see all of these events. We've got art and music and theater and all kinds of great events, so. You are a newcomer to Eastern New Mexico. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your career in theater, and you know your faculty life.

Adam Whittredge: Yeah, thank you. I grew up in Kansas and out of my undergrad where I studied Theatre education. I taught high school theater there in Kansas for six years. And then I moved to Denver and worked at a University for a couple of years as a student advisor and missed theatre a lot. So, I wanted to go back to school and went to the University of Oregon to get my Masters degree where I've lived for the past three years there in Oregon. Designing shows for the University as well as a theater in town: The Oregon Contemporary Theatre, and I finish that up this spring and was lucky enough to find this job here and came here this summer and I've been starting.  

Jeff Gentry:  Well, everybody's really thrilled to have you on campus and in our region. So, we learned a little bit last week about the themes of American Voices. As technical director in a very unusual theatrical performance, which is streaming video live. What will we see and here, on our computers, tonight?

Adam Whittredge: Yeah, so this is, as you said, a really unique experience. Nothing I've ever done before, but the actors and Doctor Beck have really worked hard to create an experience that is as much like live theater as we can.  And we've kind of worked behind the scenes to perfect what we can out of Zoom to get the best out of that software that we can utilize to make the experience as enjoyable for the audience as it can be.

Jeff Gentry:  And so, folks will register with you on the Department website, correct?

Adam Whittredge: There's a link that they can go to enmu.edu/theatrelive. And They can. There's a link that will direct them to Zoom and they can register which will send them an email or they can go there at the show time and it will just ask for their email and their name. That's all the registration is. 

Jeff Gentry:  So that is enmu.edu/theatrelive.

Adam Whittredge: Yes, that is what I believe so.

Jeff Gentry:  Great and OK and we'll make sure that our listeners if they go to Great Arts at Eastern, that they'll be able to see that link as well. So, what are some of the technical challenges associated with a Zoom play?

Adam Whittredge: We wanted to make their two different plays that are being that are representing tonight. two different one and we wanted to make them different so we have students working with some lighting in their homes. Obviously, we sent some what are called gels. Some color filters that they can put over their web cameras. To kind of give a sepia look to one of the productions, we've played the first one act that you'll watch has two different kind of realms that are taking place, and we really played with the virtual backgrounds and having those interact with the actors for that one so that we can show these two different worlds.

Jeff Gentry:  So, does that mean that there are pluses or opportunities and not just challenges?

Adam Whittredge: Yeah, it was really fun to be able to kind of work with the technology in a sense rather than just like the standard lighting that we would have on stage. We wouldn't be able to create some of the things that we did if we were doing these on stage because we were able to interact with technology and it that way.

Jeff Gentry:  Excellent and so we can find your Zoom production by going to the website that you mentioned that's: enmu.edu/theaterlive and then folks register and they'll get a Zoom invitation.

Adam Whittredge: Yes, they'll select the show that they want to attend, and they can select as many as they want and it will send them a link and the link is the same every night. So, if you attend tonight and you enjoy it, you don't have to re register to come tomorrow. Just visit the link again at 7:00 PM.

Jeff Gentry:  Fantastic. I was wondering about that.

Adam Whittredge: Yes,

Jeff Gentry:  That's excellent. Thank You, Adam Whittredge. American Voices featuring Trifles and Overtones opens live tonight at 7:00 PM, continuing through Saturday and with a Sunday matinee at 2:00 o'clock PM. The plays are free to the public worldwide.

Register at www.enmu.edu/theatrelive. Learn more about this program at KENW.org. Thanks for listening on KENW. Your public Radio Network.