Life Changing Theatre

By Chloe Rodriguez, CHASS Dean’s Office Student Intern
October 17, 2016

Rickerby Hinds is a professor of Playwriting in the Department of Theater, Film, and Digital Production at UCR. In his work he specializes in a genre called ‘hip hop theatre’ where he utilizes hip hop elements such as MCing, Djing, Breakdancing, and Graffiti art within a theatre setting. He has written many successful plays in this genre that are meant to give an audience a chance to understand real matters, including his most well known play, Dreamscape.  He was born in Honduras, Central America and lived on the North Coast until the age of thirteen when he emigrated to South Central Los Angeles. When he went back to Honduras this past summer he stayed in the Capital, Tegucigalpa. “I was curious about the difference in the history of the country, the racial makeup, the politics, even the terrain”, he mentions while speaking about the difference between where he lived as a kid and where he stayed. During his stay, he conducted several different projects.

One of those projects was a bilingual tour of his play Dreamscape which included a student actor, UCR Alum Natali Micciche, and a beatboxer. They travelled to different parts of Honduras and performed in four different areas. Originally he had planned to travel to the Bay Island, where he was born, but ended up going to San Pedro Sula, an Industrial Center. There he met a gentleman who gave him access to exhibit his play in a Cultural Center. They also travelled to Santa Rosa de Copán​, Copá​n Ruinas, and the Universidad Nacional Autó​noma Valle de Sula campus. They performed twice at a park, a Catholic high school, and a middle school, the general audience being young teenagers.

Hinds was also a part of the Fulbright Fellowship program, a grant established to increase mutual understanding between people of different countries. Through this there was a broad agreement between UCR and the Universidad Nacional Autó​noma de Honduras or the National University of Honduras. His main focus was to work with four faculty members, who have worked in theatre for over twenty years in the National University of Honduras, where they had not met the credentials to further their teaching career. Hinds’ goal was to help them receive a BA or an equivalent of a BA in order for them to meet the requirements of teaching in a country such as the U.S.

He also conducted workshops for students and non-students in the community. In one of the workshops he worked with four local rappers and began the development of a play called The Disappeared. This play centers on things that have disappeared over time in Honduras such as people, culture, and even neighbors - “a lot of walls have been built around houses because of the violence”. Professor Hinds had met with three of the four rappers a year ago to discuss this idea of disappearance. One of the rappers, Dennys Guity aka MC Dennys, is the narrator and holds one of the important aspects of the play. “Here’s the catch, he is actually losing his sight and so when I met with him I had asked if we could incorporate that into the play”, Hinds says. Thus the concept of The Disappeared was born. Hinds also organized Honduras Global, a leadership camp for youth located in the Capital. For three to four days, he introduced different forms of art such as storytelling, theatre, and most importantly leadership skills to thirteen to eighteen-year-old musicians and actors.

All of Hinds’ projects center on helping the country and its citizens as a whole, to show what Honduras is capable of. Through this he intends to write new theatre that further explores Honduras. One of his main goals now is to continue working on The Disappeared with the four rappers via Skype. He is also currently working on a movie adaptation of his play Dreamscape. His next task is to bring artists of all kinds to the US to showcase a “Festival on Honduran Artists” in the next year or two. So far, he has spoken with ten to fifteen artists to be a part of this event. Its purpose is to expose Honduran talent and show that the country is so much more than “The Murder Capital of the World”.

For more information on Professor Rickerby Hinds and his work, you can visit his webpage at theatre.ucr.edu/rickerby-hinds/

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