In The Box: ‘We’re busier now,’ says performance space co-owner of pandemic productions

“An Evening with Diego”: Doug Montoya as Diego. (Courtesy of Box performance space)

Doug Montoya could have had a slower year.

Instead, the Albuquerque-based entertainer decided to go in a different direction as in-person shows weren’t allowed due to the pandemic.

The result is a comprehensive list of virtual series that The Box Performance Space produces almost daily.

Carissa Mitchell and Matthew Van Wettering in “Actors Call Time.” (Courtesy of Box performance space)

“We’re busier now,” Montoya laughs. “We have so much to do. There is only one day of the week when we do not present an online show. It’s pretty crazy.

Montoya is one of the owners of Box Performance Space in downtown Albuquerque.

Featured shows include “Sarah Kennedy and Friends”, “Stayin’ in With Sophie & Kelsey”, “The One Night Stanleys”, “The Show at Home”, and “Your Favorite Gurl Gang”.

“That’s been our approach, we always do things against what other people are doing,” Montoya said. “Everyone else charges for their shows, and we give them away for free.”

Getting to this point has taken time, Montoya says.

“There was a lot of trial and error,” he says. “We didn’t want to deliver a Zoom-like performance. People expect something similar to Zoom, and we give them something different. We are shooting with three cameras.

Montoya says it’s taken a while to figure out platforms like Twitch, which handles live broadcasts and gives viewers easier access.

Melyssa Zurasky, Virginia Benitez-Jones, Madi Frost and Julia Baca in “Your Favorite Gurl Gang”. (Courtesy of Box performance space)

He says the productions are presented like TV shows, with breaks, so viewers aren’t overwhelmed.

Being in the theater industry, he also wanted to do something for the local film and television community.

“We brought in (agent) Carissa Mitchell, and she does a very informative show talking to actors and giving them advice,” he says. “It’s a great asset to give back to the community, because we all have a foothold in the film industry.

Montoya is grateful to have the time and space to reinvent what The Box does.

While he thinks of more interesting things to do with his space, here are five fun facts about Montoya:

1 “I belong to a group called the Wally Ringwalds. We only cover songs that have been in John Hughes movies.

2 “I was a medic in the National Guard for six years.”

3 “I took third place in my college talent show. I wore a tie-dye shirt and green polyester bell bottoms and sang Barry Manilow’s “I Write the Songs.”

4 “I don’t own hip-hop albums and don’t really listen to hip-hop music, but I love hip-hop documentaries.

5 “I auditioned over 50 times for ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Better Call Saul’ before booking the role of customer ordering chicken in ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 3.”