Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Bob Hicks Oral History Interview, June 29, 2015

Oregon State University
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00:00:00 - Introduction and Background

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Partial Transcript: "Bob, welcome. Thanks for doing this."

Segment Synopsis: Bob Hicks briefly describes his career in theater journalism in Portland, Oregon and his history and familiarity with Milagro (Miracle Theatre Group) and its founders José González and Dañel Malán.

Keywords: Cultural Journalist; Danel Malan; Jose Gonzalez; Oregon Arts Watch; Portland; Portland Civic Theatre; The Oregonian; Theatre Critic

00:01:13 - Spanish Language Theatre in Milagro Productions and Language as a Liberating Experience

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Partial Transcript: Do you have a most memorable moment you'd like to comment on?

Segment Synopsis: Hicks talks about the importance of Milagro producing Spanish Language Theatre in helping audiences connect to Hispanic, Central and South American cultures. He also shares his excitement about the experience of hearing a play performed in its original language because it allows the audience to feel the pacing and rhythm as it is meant to be heard. Finally he speaks about the experience of non-Spanish speaking audiences with Milagro productions.

Keywords: Non-spanish speaking audiences; Plays in original language; Spanish; Spanish-speaking actors; Spanish-speaking audiences; body language; filter; original artistic experience; superscripts; translation

00:04:54 - Exploration of Difference in Milagro Productions

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Partial Transcript: How many performances do you think you've seen?

Segment Synopsis: Hicks goes into depth about one Milagro production in particular, Lorca in a Green Dress, and describes how Milagro promotes art about people on the 'outside' of society. He explains how throughout the years Milagro has taken on projects about topics that most residents in Portland and Oregon do not think enough about.

Keywords: Exploration of difference; LGBT; Layers of difference; Lorca in a Green Dress; Spain

00:06:53 - The Importance of a Specifically Hispanic Cultural Outlet in Oregon.

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Partial Transcript: The last time I checked the statistics I think that the Hispanic population in the Portland Metro area was 11 percent.

Segment Synopsis: Hicks talks about how Milagro is important to the Hispanic population in Oregon because it creates a space to explore Latin American cultural identity that more mainstream theater spaces do not offer.

Keywords: Asian Theatre; Black Theatre; Hispanic population; Hispanic-American actors; Latin American culture; Local cultural scene; Oregon population; alternative viewpoints; cultural identities; mainstream theatre; pioneers

00:08:50 - Neighborhood and Location

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Partial Transcript: I've heard a lot of talk about, and you've mentioned their impact on the state and kinda the minority community, but I've also heard a lot of talk about how they've impacted this neighborhood.

Segment Synopsis: Bob Hicks talks about the neighborhood of the Milagro Theater space. He notes that historically the area was industrial and inexpensive which drew arts and cultural groups to the district. He also discusses how currently the desirable location is threatening to price people out of the market.

Keywords: Downtown; Grand; MLK; Real estate market; River; accessible; affordable space; creative interests; cultural footprint; industrial; industrial interests; neighborhood; priced out; warehouse

00:11:11 - Growth of Milagro and Focus on Training

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Partial Transcript: You've talked about change in the neighborhood and the community, how about the theater? How has the theater changed over the time you've had your eyes on it?

Segment Synopsis: Hicks talks about how early on Milagro had to train a lot of their actors because there were not many Hispanic performers in the area. After 25 years of this, he says, Milagro has become a magnet for talent.

Keywords: Hispanic performers; Olga Sanchez; Tony Sondara; Training; magnet; production value; spanish speaking actors

00:12:37 - Educational Outreach and Community Engagement

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Partial Transcript: I know the theater has a significant emphasis on its education and outreach programs. Can you talk about that at all?

Segment Synopsis: Hicks speaks about Milagro's education and outreach programs and the impact they have on minority students who see their own culture represented on stage. He also discusses Milagro's community engagement philosophy of the importance of working with communities in order to reach their goals.

Keywords: Chicano population; Cully; Portland; Woodward; community engagement; community theater; education; elementary; impact of diversity; outreach; representation; schools; secondary; touring; touring companies

00:16:50 - The Future of Milagro

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Partial Transcript: Let me ask, what do you see as the future for Milagro?

Segment Synopsis: Hicks talks about the next generation of Milagro. He admits he does not know what the future holds for Milagro but that he guesses that it will continue to prosper by taking the long view and building incrementally on change as it has done for the last 30 years.

Keywords: Artistic director; Olga Sanchez; University of Oregon; artistic leadership; building; change in leadership; cultural centers; future; growth; longview; next generation; touring program; weaknesses

00:19:06 - The Miracle of Milagro and Final Comments

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Partial Transcript: I know that milagro means miracle. What's the miracle here?

Segment Synopsis: Hicks reflects on the 'miracle' that is Milagro's combination of humility and pride and hard work that make the company possible. He also commends the generosity of Milagro in serving both the mainstream white community and the Latino community.

Keywords: Danel; Hispanic art; Jose; Latino audience; art world; community; determination; ego; final comments; following through; generosity; heart and mind; humility; mainstream audience; milagro; miracle; open to everyone; pride; white