As Archive’s Month here at Oregon State University wrapped up with its final event yesterday, I have some time to reflect on the steps and outcomes of the event to which I contributed. Because it took place so close to Halloween and the Day of the Dead, we decided to incorporate el Día de los Muertos festivities into the event. This brought the decision to utilize our Milagro collection due to the fact that this Portland, bilingual theatre group performs an annual Día de los Muertos play.
Once this topic was chosen, the first step of the process was to select a recording of the play we wished to screen. This process was enjoyable as I was able to look at several of their plays, outreach and productions materials, and festivals. After exploring the audiovisual material for a couple of days, I decided on screening La Noche Eterna because it included elements of social issues and el Día de los Muertos all weaved through comical characters and bright costumes.
I then set to work gathering production materials found in the OMA archives, including: the script, flyers, programs, evaluation forms, practice schedules, and the official DVD. With this wide breadth of material, those who attended the event were able to look at the scope of the Milagro collection. Alongside this step, I found flyers that had been used by the Miracle Theatre Group, Teatro Milagro, for their Día de los Muertos productions that had taken place from 1995 t0 2013. I think this was an especially interesting element for those who appreciate Milagro performances and their celebration of the Day of the Dead. With all the physical material chosen, the task of cutting down the hour and thirty minute play into a forty minute section was upon me. For me, this was one of the most difficult yet rewarding tasks of this project simply because I do not have a lot of background with editing. However, with the help of Karl McCreary and Chris Petersen, once cohesion between cuts manifested, the order fell in to place. The final step of this was to write an informational sheet explaining Day of the Dead and the scenes that we would be showing in both English and Spanish to reflect both the diversity embedded within the OMA collections and the bilingual play chosen to screen. I am very proud of how these flyers turned out due to the creativity of Kylie Thalhofer who designed them! With all of this prep-work accomplished by all those involved, it was time for the event.
I am thankful to say, it went off without a hitch; with a good turnout, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves! With refreshments such as Pan de Muerto, Horchata, and candy from the local Mexican bakery, Pilos Bakery, people were able to snack while watching Milagro’s production that covered topics ranging from Day of the Dead to tourism to immigration to love. This form of outreach enabled spectators to view what can be done with the collections held by the OMA and the breadth of its archives.
~ Avery Sorensen, OMA Student Worker