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Great Arts at Eastern talks with Anne Beck, Director of the Portales Showcase: Talent of the Eastern

ENMU Department of Theatre and Digital Filmmaking
Eastern New Mexico University

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 Anne Beck OF ENMU's Department of Theatre and Digital Filmmaking. She directs Portales Showcase: Talent of the Eastern Plains, opening on April 22nd for a four-day run of live shows via streaming video. Thank you for joining me today Anne.

BECK:  It's so great to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

GENTRY:  So, what gave you the idea to display a potpourri of talent for the department's last show of the season?

BECK:  Well, initially, it was going to be a showcase for the faculty, but because we went into virtual, I thought let's extend our reach and include community members. So, it's an evening-, a short evening; barely an hour of variety acts: of magic, tap dancing, a dance from Bollywood, and clarinet solo, a song, and a magic act if I didn't already say. So, it should be a lot of fun.

GENTRY:  So, what are the unusual demands of a producer/director such as yourself for this kind of review?

BECK:  Well, I think to meet with the talent individually. To make them feel comfortable in doing what they're-, they're going to be presenting and then just making sure that we have the- you know-, all of the technical aspects lined up.

GENTRY:  And you mentioned some of the range here. I mean, some talent shows are little more than a few karaoke singers. You know. And I don't mean to not karaoke singers, but you have a lot of range here that you've kind of alluded to already.

BECK:  Absolutely and we have. We have a comedy scene performed by a mother and a daughter; we have a clarinet solo that was written by the clarinetist.


BECK:  Which is I know-.

GENTRY:  Yeah,

BECK:  And so, it's really pretty impressive that this talent and these special skills are being showcased next week.

GENTRY:  Right and then, I think you have more original music by Neil Rutland.

BECK:  Absolutely and it's it is accompanying his original poetry. So, it's like almost like a beat poet with drumming.

GENTRY:  That's that's neat. So, how instrumental is Technical Director Adam Whittredge in this operation?

BECK:  He is essential. he's essential. he and my stage manager will actually be doing the, you know, blacking out after each of the scenes. And to make it continuity. The continuity we have a master of ceremonies who is Brian Hahn, who will be coming to Portales to see what we actually have. Because he's going around the country looking at small-town American talent and he's next weekend is coming to Portales.

GENTRY:  Alright, and so in Brian Hahn made you a nice poster for promotional purposes.

BECK:  It's beautiful. It will be on Facebook, and again, Doctor Gentry, this is free.

GENTRY:  Right, I'm glad you mentioned that because we don't have as much entertainment programming in the world right now. And the fact that it's free and streaming, anybody can take it in. so tell me, how do we find your show?

BECK:  All people need to do is to go to enmu.edu/theatrelive. LIVE. T-H-E-A-T-R-E-L-I-V-E one word. And they register and with their email, and then they will get a confirmation and reminder.

GENTRY:  Right, and you say live. that's what's exciting to me is you know my family has taken in some Broadway shows that the Popejoy had in Albuquerque has put together to link us to some. But they're all canned right these each night, and then the Sunday matinee these are our actual live shows, right?

BECK:  Absolutely all the artists will be there live. And that's so. People can come to more than one.

GENTRY:  Right, that really adds to the excitement, I think. And so, because you have a magic act. You have vocal and instrumental music. You have sketch comedy, and it sounds to me this is more like America's Got Talent than American Idol.

BECK:  Yes, yes, we are. We have, I think, 11 talented artists.

GENTRY:  Fantastic. Thank you, professor Anne Beck. Portales Showcase: Talent of the Eastern Plains opens live next Thursday, April 22nd at 7:00 PM. continuing each evening through Saturday and a Sunday matinee at 2:00 o'clock. The plays are free to the public worldwide. Register at enmu.edu/theatrelive. And you can learn more about this program at kenw.org. Doctor Beck, thank you.

BECK:  Thank you.

GENTRY:  And thanks to everyone for listening on KENW, Your Public Radio Network.

Talent of the Eastern Plains

Directed by Anne Beck

Featuring students, faculty and members of the community

Thursday, April 22, 2021 | 7 p.m.

Friday, April 23, 2021 | 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 24, 2021 | 7 p.m.

Sunday, April 25, 2021 | 2 p.m.