Steven Levenson’s “If I Forget” began its Off-Broadway run a year ago, closing just six weeks before the now 33-year-old playwright won the Tony Award for writing the book of the acclaimed musical “Dear Evan Hansen.” Cut to February 2018, and South Florida already has its own exquisite production of “If I Forget,” thanks to GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler. Levenson’s fun..
In a career that continues to soar two decades after his first play was produced, Michael McKeever has premiered his dramas, comedies and short plays at theaters all over South Florida. Nearly always, he’s involved in those productions as the author, sometimes as an actor, at times as a set designer. The plays get their start here, then go on to productions (sometimes multiple product..
When M. John Richard decided to leave the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in late 2008 to become president and chief executive officer of Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, he arrived in South Florida with a vision, myriad ideas and a long-term exit strategy. “I knew in 2008 that I had a 10-year run in my tank,” says Richard, 65, who plans to retire from his Arsh..
Friendships can bring seemingly unlike people together to sometime form a strong bond. Such is the case in Walter Dean Myers’ coming of age novel, Darius & Twig. According to the summary notes of the book “Two best friends, a writer and a runner, deal with bullies, family issues, social pressures, and their quest for success coming out of Harlem.” It’s a tale of endurance, perseverance, an..
Kristoffer Diaz’s searing, hilarious and all-too-resonant play “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” isn’t new to South Florida. The 2009 script, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, made its area debut in 2012 in a fierce and fine production at Boca Raton’s Caldwell Theatre Company just a few months before the long-running regional powerhouse folded. Now “Chad Deity” has ret..
“This is no camera, nothing cut. This is real," says Tranee Wallace, whose story is one of three live radio plays in Dan Froot and Company's "Pang!" at Miami Light Project's Light Box at the Goldman Warehouse. Hers is one of a triptych of oral histories adapted into plays of families facing adversity: A Los Angeles single mom who loses the home she and her nine children live in after..
When it comes to farces, Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off” is one of the great ones. The 1982 comedy has made it to Broadway three times, and American audiences all over the country have embraced it in countless regional productions. Actors’ Playhouse is having a go at “Noises Off” as the second show of its 30th anniversary season. The play fits like a period glove on the main stage at the..
The intricate alchemy of inspired theatrical art is on full display in Zoetic Stage’s darkly hilarious, gripping world premiere of Christopher Demos-Brown’s “Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts.” Demos-Brown, a rising theatrical star whose play “American Son” will open on Broadway in November, has drawn on his experience as a lawyer working on wrongful death cases to create a savage exami..
My Barbarian wanted to take Miami on a boat ride. “We wanted to interact and be out in the public,” Alex Segade reveals over the phone from Los Angeles, where he just got out of rehearsal for My Barbarian’s first Miami show, coming up this Saturday at the Miami Light Project, as part of Miami-Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design’s “Living Together” performance series this season. ..
The time seems right for Karen Finley to be visiting Miami, to be performing in the black box space of the Miami Light Project at the Goldman Warehouse, and to present her latest performance-art manifesto about the current political landscape, “Unicorn Gratitude Mystery.” In the show, which she began developing as a response to the U.S. presidential election in 2016, Finley plays a unicor..
Miami-based choreographer Ana Mendez has been producing original and accomplished work in Miami for years. This December, she is closing out 2016 with a Grass Stains commissioned work set at David Fairchild’s exotic nine-acre botanical garden, The Kampong.
Grass Stains is a new initiative of the Pioneer Winter Collective, dedicated to producing new, site-specific dance work. A master of the genre, Stephan Koplowitz, has served as a mentor for the chosen artists and choreographers. Like all of the other Grass Stains commissions shown this year, Mendez’s piece was designed to engage integrally with the site. The process of creating the work, then, is not just about creating movement. It’s also a discovery of the place itself.
We spoke with Mendez a week before Transplants makes a one-day appearance among the Kampong’s foliage.
How is rehearsal going?
It’s going good! I’ve been rehearsing since September, and it’s been a lot of sketching and throwing away, up until Art Basel. And then it all sort of came together in my head. I was working with a core group of four people, and then I brought in the entire cast this week. It’s a little bit crazy. It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before.
I guess that’s part of the process, in site-specific projects you have to let go of certain things.
Yeah, there are a lot of variables, so it’s not going to be only one way. I guess it’s different for everybody, but for myself I feel like my process isn’t always exactly the same. And so approaching this, I felt a little bit lost sometimes. I’m glad I had a whole lot of time.
What is your general concept for the piece?
I have always been a little bit of a native plant freak. In the last four years, we moved into a house and I only wanted to plant native trees because I want to have what would be naturally here for the birds and everything. How it should be, right? And then I go to the Kampong and it’s all about non-native. [Fairchild] brought in a bunch of plants from all over the world and created what would be considered maybe the new native. He introduced a lot of plants to Miami that are now considered native, but people don’t know, they think the plants are from here because they are all over the place. So I wanted to focus in on that whole journey of these plants that came across the ocean to Miami. It’s a huge voyage. And how these transplants have thrived and become in some ways the new natives.
How does this idea translate into a dance piece?
I had been playing around with these fake mannequin hands. I have been playing around with mannequins for a little while. I want the performers to have fake hands and I didn’t really know why. And then I thought about the idea of transplanting organs or body parts. Because I’m working with people, how do I interpret that in the body, how do I create that concept visually? And also it creates a stiffness and this non-organic way of coming into contact with the site that I thought was interesting. It’s a little bit forced. And that’s how I imagine it probably was. It’s a very delicate procedure to bring in these plants. And as the piece goes on, these people-plants become more and more organic and they shed some of these parts.
In working on the site, is there anything that surprised you or gave you a new way of thinking about the piece?
When I first approached the piece, I was really focused on David Fairchild. And we were also focused on one part of the property. And then through feedback from Stephen [Koplowitz], the mentor for Grass Stains, I expanded a little bit. There are lots of plants and trees there. Obviously that’s what [Fairchild] was all about. But I refocused around the trees, and now we are among the trees for the most part, and not just around the house. That was a turning point for the piece. That changed everything.
How is the audience going to encounter the performance at the site?
It’s promenade style, so the audience follows the performance throughout the property. In some cases it’s like an installation because it’s so narrow. I can’t fit 100 people at once in the porch of the house, so people will experience it kind of like a haunted house where they walk through and see stuff. And then in other spots they actually stand and watch something happen in the field or in front of the trees, or they walk up to the tennis courts. In some cases they are actually entering the performance area, so there are performers doing things but the audience is invited to walk through it to get to the other side, to see something else. I’ve had to weave different kinds of situations because of the way the property is laid out.
‘Transplants’ by Ana Mendez at The Kampong, 4013 Douglas Rd., Saturday, Dec. 17, Performance #1: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.; Performance #2: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.; Performance #3: 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Free Performance - This is free, open to the public, and family friendly.
As of publication, all performances are SOLD OUT.
Performance Hall at New World Center was packed Saturday, Feb. 3 for the New Work program, which NWS conductor and artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas introduced as “one of the more adve..
Having grown up in Buenos Aires with a strong interest in music, one would think that Jaime Bronsztein (http://jaimebronsztein.webs.com/) would have slid down the well-lubricated tracks towar..
A creepy old king ogles his beautiful stepdaughter. Powerless to stop him, her mother, the queen, protests drunkenly. The girl, age maybe 12 or so, falls for the only man who does not lust af..
At first their sound is reminiscent of Bob Marley. Just as plaintive but with added punch. But listen longer -- the more familiar the music feels, the harder it is to pin down. This is t..
People often imagine new artwork is the product of the solitary artist genius slaving away in lonely studios. The South Florida Symphony’s 20th anniversary program foregrounds a different vis..
At an age when many are winding down their working lives, Ignacio Berroa eagerly anticipates a new stage in his career. It would be understandable if the 64-year-old drummer, recognized a..
We know it’s the holiday season when trees light up, menorah candles start to burn, ubiquitous Christmas carols pipe through drugstores, “The Nutcracker” plays on every stage – and in recent ..
Late last year, on Dec. 20, 2016, Romero Britto and Mark Bryn hosted the Great Artists Series Cocktail Reception at the Britto Fine Art Gallery to celebrate the legendary impresaria, Judy Dru..
Everyone remembers a lost weekend, binge reading a novel whose ending had to wait because the body just gave out. No matter how compelling the story somewhere around the 30th hour the brain s..
Después de una serie de actuaciones muy exitosas en varias ciudades del Este del país, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) llega a Miami para ofrecer seis presentaciones del jueves 22 ..
La ofensiva espontánea protagonizada por BalletBoyz y Cie. Herve Koubi el fin de semana pasado en teatros de Fort Laudedarle y Miami, con dos propuestas artísticas absolutamente fuera de seri..
La atracción principal del tercer programa de la temporada 2017-2018 del Miami City Ballet (MCB) que se presentó el fin de semana pasado en el Arsht Center fue el estreno mundial de One Line ..
Llegados en vuelo directo desde Inglaterra, BalletBoyz (Premio Nacional de Danza 2013 a la Mejor Compañía Independiente) ofrecerá el sábado 10 de febrero una función patrocinada por Culture Shock ..
Por dos noches consecutivas, el Miami City Ballet (MCB), que dirige Lourdes López desde 2012, abrió las puertas de sus instalaciones en Miami Beach para ofrecer un encuentro Open Barre con e..
El segundo programa de la temporada 2017-2018 del Miami City Ballet (MCB) dedicado a los 100 años del nacimiento de Jerome Robbins (1918-1998), el gran coreógrafo norteamericano que triunfó ..
2017 fue un buen año para la danza en Miami. El Flamenco Festival nos permitió volver a ver a Jesús Carmona, el Internacional Ballet Festival of Miami (IBFM) sobrevivió al huracán Irma, Dance..
El Miami City Ballet (MCB) presentó por fin en el Arsht Center la nueva producción de su gran espectáculo navideño, el “Cascanueces” de Tchaikovsky y Balanchine, ahora con diseños origin..
La tradicional temporada de Cascanueces del Miami City Ballet (MCB) tendrá algo nuevo este año. La compañía que dirige Lourdes López ha decidido renovar los diseños de la superproducción que..