Joe Minjares wears many hats (but surprisingly goes hat-less in Crashing the Party). His acting talents are currently on display in Crashing the Party where he plays David Martin, patriarch of the Martin family but you may have seen Joe as a stand-up comedian, or greeting guests at his restaurant Pepitos in South Minneapolis, or maybe you’ve seen him selling concessions at the theater venue he owns and operates, OR maybe you’ve seen one of the plays he wrote himself!
As a playwright, he’s penned a few plays, one of which, Minnecanos (a play about the history of Chicano people in Minnesota), has been a main stay in our touring program. Joe recently re-wrote the piece, extending it to a full-length bilingual play. This new version of Minnecanos will have several student matinee performances but will have a few public performances at the Parkway Theater.
Rose Lindsay, our Latino Advisor Council chair, sat down with Joe to talk about theatre and life. In the interview Joe talks about what got him started in theatre and some of the challenges he’s had to face in his life. Watch the video for more of Joe’s interview.
P.S. If you still want more Joe, he’ll host his own Salon (Musings from Joe Minjares) following the final performance of Crashing the Party, Sunday, March 4 at 4:30pm.
Mixed Blood- What excites you about this play?
Joe Minjares- This play is a stretch for me. I get to explore a variety of situations and emotions and work with fabulous actors, a great team of Writer and Director, on a piece that is not a typical, setup joke, setup joke. The humor is smart and challenges the audience to listen. Lastly, I get to work at Mixed Blood.
M.B.- Do you see Mixed Blood as an artistic home? What contributes to that feeling?
J.M.- I see The Mixed Blood Theatre as an artistic home because of its approach to the performing arts. It is a non-judgmental, non-exclusive venue that has a broad palate when defining what performing art is. It seeks out new voices from the community at large. I know by personal experience that Mixed Blood is a safe place to express yourself where you are encouraged to explore the inner voices of your experience. The Mixed Blood Theatre is a place where all voices are important and no expression is left unheard.
M.B.- Why do you feel like more Latinos aren’t in theatre/performing arts?
J.M.- I think perhaps that the reason that Latinos aren’t more visible as actors and as writers in American theater is a two way street. I think that Latinos seek to express themselves in more traditional Latino forms within the Latino community. Because of this, American art needs to reach out and broaden its thinking as to what is American contemporary theater/performing arts. The two need to reach out to each other. From the Latino perspective. I think that Latino performers need to step out and explore more contemporary American themes and learn to absorb these stories as part of their own. In short, stake a claim in American Theater.
M.B.- What is it like balancing a career as a playwright/actor and a restaurant/theater venue owner?
J.M.- Balancing business and Theatre is a very difficult job. There are certain responsibilities that I have to answer to from both worlds. Finding the fine line between feeding the stomach and feeding the soul is a challenge that we all face in one form or another. The guy that likes to fish or spend time with his grandkids won’t be able to do that very often if he constantly skips work to do it.
M.B.- What does Joe like to do in his spare time?
J.M.- What I do in my spare time varies depending on the demands that my different worlds demand. Mostly, there is no spare time. I hate to say it but most times I feel guilty if I do have spare time.
UPDATE: You can see Joe’s Salon, in its entirety, below: