Q&A with student theatre director Nico Torrez ’22

“Pages from a Love Manifesto” delves into all kinds of love we share, including friendship love

Nico Torrez, ‘22 (Theatre Arts) will be making their directorial debut with a play they conceived at McKenna Theatre.

“Pages From a Love Manifesto” was inspired by the various kinds of love and ideas presented in bell hooks’ all about love. This play explores various forms of love– self love, familial love, platonic love, romantic love– and the highs and lows, the joy and heartbreak, the fear, the anger, the bliss, and the fulfillment that comes with it.

“Pages from a Love Manifesto” debuts on April 29 and will be performed throughout the weekend. Click here for tickets and information.

While awaiting their grand debut, Torrez took time out of their busy schedule for a Q&A with Lindsay Lennon, marketing and promotions coordinator for the School of Fine and Performing Arts:

What do you hope audiences will take away from this production?In perhaps a silly way, my only hope for this piece is that it is the kind of show that you can’t wait to start talking about on the car ride home. I have done my best to intentionally structure something to spark conversation, because at the root of all of this work is just that: a conversation. Or, an exploration. So much of my year working on Pages has been about the conversations we as artists have been able to foster: about love, about heartbreak, about relationships and community. It truly has and continues to shape and mold my perspective on the world and how we relate to one another. I would love to see audiences walk away with more questions about themselves, and to continue the pursuit of that introspection beyond the theater.

How did you bring “Pages” to life?I knew devising was always something I wanted to try, but I hadn’t really found the starting concept/text/thoughts that I was passionate enough about to explore…until I began revisiting bell hooks’ All About Love over the course of the first pandemic lockdown in 2020. I found that her writings on building communities on love ethics felt both more pertinent and comforting amid the isolation of Covid than ever before; as a reader, I was forced to reexamine my positionality in this world, to include my relationships with others and with love. It really changed me as a person, and I wanted to find a way to bring that to my peers, and thus Pages was born.

What excites you most about this play?I am more nervous and excited now than I think I’ve ever been for a show before. Bottom line: I am obviously so elated to be back in the theatre and have the space to create again after such a tumultuous two years. My first directed production at New Paltz was canceled a week before opening due to Covid, so in a lot of ways, this piece is somehow a comeback, a debut, and the accumulation of the things I’ve learned in the last two years.Between our original devising company, to our current cast, to all of our management and production crews, to our designers, and so many more, Pages would never have become more than a blip of a thought in my mind if it weren’t for the numerous people willing to take a chance on me—and that is something I will certainly always carry with me. I’m excited for audiences to see what the students at New Paltz have to provide, because they have really created something stunning despite the obstacles and challenges.