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Great Arts at Eastern talks with Ricardo Quintana about the upcoming play: You’re On Mute

GENTRY:  And now Great Arts at Eastern, coming to you 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 Ricardo Quintana of ENMU’s Department of Theatre and Digital Filmmaking. He directs the original devised play You’re on Mute, premiering next Thursday, November 12th at ENMU in Portales.  Thank you very much for joining me today.

QUINTANA:  Thank you for having me Doctor Gentry.

GENTRY:  Ricky you are an interdisciplinary theatre maker with a Master of Arts… A Master of Fine Arts from Arizona State. How do you approach theatre in an interdisciplinary way?

QUINTANA:  I think theatre starts with what's not spoken. So, movement. I really love the physicality, how we move through space and the interesting challenge with You’re on Mute, is how do I choreograph over Zoom?  So that was a fun challenge for me and so I guess for me everything we kind of built everything that we didn't say an we added text last. I love playing with lights, sound, props. Ah, you know we used a lot of the things that the students had in their houses as their set pieces. So that's what I think interdisciplinary means to me; and so, we created the show just with everything they had in their house is great.

GENTRY:  Well welcome to the High Plains and ENMU. When did you first realize what it takes to be a Pro in theatre?

QUINTANA:  Um, I think when I went to New York for the very first time; when I was 17. I was a junior going into my Senior High School and I did this program NYU, New York University in New York, NY. And I went that was first time I went and lived in New York by myself for the summer. and I saw my very first Broadway shows and I think: I was so close I was in like just the first few rows, and you can kind of see just like the sweat dripping off their face and just the visceral experiences they're having while they're performing on stage and that's kind of when I knew.

GENTRY:  That's great and of course you're originally from Chicago and you've had acting roles as diverse as George Gibbs in Our Town and Share Khan in The Jungle Book. But You're on Mute is not a set piece right; it's a device play what does that mean compared to a straight play?

QUINTANA:  I mean we're starting from scratch, so nothing existed prior to when we started rehearsals the last week of September except just my; they call it a hunch Peter Brook very famous theatre director. And so, a hunch is kind of like the idea that you have for a piece and so my hunch was I have the students who have a very unique experience to the pandemic that's different from mine and different from what we're seeing on the media right now. And so, I just wanted to bring their stories to light and I thought it would be a great way for me to get to know them and for them to get to know me as a director and teacher and as an artist.

GENTRY:  Right and so all you need is a hunch to get started right. So, are the students excited about being content creators?

QUINTANA:  Yes, it seems like they're having a lot of fun and I gave them a lot of Liberty over- you know we kind of we have this hunch and then we split it up into different themes that we're seeing when we're doing our research into news articles, interviews, documents, news clips.  So, through all of that research that we did; I gave them artistic Liberty over what they wanted to put in their piece; 'cause each there's five actors and each of them have their own monologue and it's between each monologue is interspersed with different movement transitions etc. And I'm really excited about what they created 'cause I was uncertain about what level they were at as artists and how much I was going to have to hold their hand.  But it turns out that there really independent, they have a good foundation of who they are and how they like to create and so that's really exciting for me.

GENTRY:  Great. Yeah, I was able to screen the first part of the play which has some great emotional moments. So, how can our listeners experience the show next week.

QUINTANA:  They can go on to www.enmu.edu/theatre live and register for each- whichever night they want to go and will send them a link.

GENTRY:  Well that is fantastic, You're on Mute runs November 12th through 14th at 7:00 PM via zoom and a Sunday matinee on November 15th at 2:00 PM the plays are free to the public worldwide. Register at www.enmu.edu/theatrelive. Thank you, Ricky Quintana, for visiting Great Arts at Eastern.

QUINTANA:  Thank you, Doctor Gentry.

GENTRY:  Alright and our listeners can learn more about this program at KENW.org. Thanks for listening on KENW your Public Radio Network