Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Eva Rotter Johnson Oral History Interview, June 30, 2016

Oregon State University
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00:00:00 - Introduction and Early Involvement in Milagro

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Partial Transcript: "Thank you for having me." "Tell me your full name, if you would."

Segment Synopsis: Eva Rotter Johnson tells us how she came to work with Milagro in 1991 after responding to a call for Latina actors. She talks about how she doesn't look Latina but is Latina and how this made her feel out of place or kept her from working other places but that Milagro has been a home for her.

Keywords: German heritage; Latino actors; Oregon; Our Lady of the Tortilla; South Carolina; Spanish-speaking actors; Stark Raving Theater; TV work; Venezuela; actor; home; look the part; props; voiceovers

00:03:28 - Most Memorable Moments and People

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Partial Transcript: And you said you had a favorite performance or favorite play. Can you talk about that?

Segment Synopsis: Rotter Johnson tells us about her most meaningful role with Milagro as the title character in "Sonia Flew." She also talks about how welcoming Milagro and Jose are because they let her play a part in "Oh Christmas Cuento" while heavily pregnant. Eva wraps up by recounting the influence of her fellow Milagro community members.

Keywords: Cuban Revolution; Jim Cuevas; Oh Christmas Cuento; Olga Sanchez; Peter Pan kids; Sonia Flew; emotional; most memorable; pregnant; welcoming

00:06:44 - Development of Milagro

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Partial Transcript: "You've been here a while" "Yes" "And so you've witnessed a good deal of change."

Segment Synopsis: Eva has been with Milagro for 25+ years and speaks to the changes that it has gone through since the early 1990s. She talks about how it started as very much a community theater and grew in talent and caliber until now when it is considered a professional theater company.

Keywords: Dañel Malán; José González; Northwest Community Center; change; community theater; current building; family; neighborhood; process; professional theater

00:08:30 - Being a Diverse Theater

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Partial Transcript: Last night at the awards ceremony they talked about how Milagro has been a gift to the City of Portland.

Segment Synopsis: Eva talks about how Milagro has acted as a workshop opportunity for many emerging Latino actors who can gain confidence here and go on to spread their wings elsewhere. She also emphasizes that Milagro thrives by not only valuing diversity but by being diverse.

Keywords: Latino actors; Latino theater; Minority actors; Portland; diversity; internationality; workshop

00:10:12 - Quality of Performance at Milagro

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Partial Transcript: You know I, the other night I was in Ashland, have you ever attended a play in Ashland?

Segment Synopsis: Eva speaks about the consistently high caliber of the performances at Milagro and notes that the quality hasn't always been this high. She shows appreciation for Milagros willingness in its early years to grow actors that led to more inconsistent quality in the early 1990s.

Keywords: Ashland; affordable; caliber; energy; evolution; growth; joie de vivre; performance quality; perseverance; production quality; professional theater; willingness to grow

00:12:52 - The Power of Multilingual Milagro

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Partial Transcript: And you're talking about, kind of, inter-nationality of the theater and I think that was a recurring...

Segment Synopsis: Eva points out that for herself and many people like her living a multi-lingual and multi-cultural life is normal, but it is powerful for a white, mono-lingual student to experience Milagro for the first time. She also reflects on how much more diverse and desirable Portland has become in the 25 years since she moved here.

Keywords: Oregon; Portland; change; diverse; drama workshop; ethnic shift; immersive; internationality; languages; mono-lingual; multi-lingual; non-minority students; racial shift; students

00:15:49 - The Growth of Milagro into the Future

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Partial Transcript: We've talked a lot about the past, we've talked some about today, what do you see for the future here at Milagro?

Segment Synopsis: Eva predicts that Milagro will continue to grow in caliber and influence, continuing its bold Spanish-language productions. She says that the true miracle of Milagro is that it has grown so much and will continue to do so.

Keywords: Danel; Jose; Spanish; caliber; community; future; growth; miracle; past; professional; risk

00:16:59 - OSU and the 'History Ninjas'

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Partial Transcript: So that's where we agree to take a deep breath and a time out...

Segment Synopsis: Jager and Rotter Johnson wrap up and discuss their careers as teachers. Jager tells Rotter Johnson about his work collecting oral histories for Oregon State University.

Keywords: History Ninjas; K-8; Media; OSU; Oregon State University; Reynolds; Students; hands-on; play readings; reading specialist; teacher