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Though the Miami New Drama-commissioned “Queen of Basel” will have its official world premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington D.C. next season, you don’t have to wait or travel to discover how playwright Hilary Bettis has reimagined August Strindberg’s controversial 1888 classic “Miss Julie.” With three powerful actors and a small audience sharing the stage space at Miami Beach’s Co..

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, now 33, was named a MacArthur “genius” grant winner in 2016, the same year his play “Gloria” was chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Earlier, his provocative, stylistically diverse, subversive plays “Appropriate” and “An Octoroon” (the latter was produced by Coral Gables’ Area Stage last fall) each won best new American play Obie Awards. ..

"The Other Mozart" is a suitcase play – one of those shows where a single actress can pack the entire contents that creates the setting – costume, wig, and props, and go anywhere in the world. It is the way Samantha Hoefer will arrive in Miami to present Sylvia Milo's one-woman play about Maria Anna Mozart, the not nearly as famous older sibling of that 18th century rock star Wolfgang Ama..

Early on in the Argentinean film “El Último Traje” (The Last Suit), which makes its U.S. theatrical debut this week, a deceptively quaint and humorous scene takes place between the film’s protagonist, 88-year-old Abraham Bursztein and his young granddaughter. The little girl refuses to join in a family photo with Abraham surrounded by his many grandchildren. When he cajoles and insists, ..

Gone are the days when filmmakers needed huge budgets, and major movie studios backing them with big bucks to get their films seen, according to two producers who spent decades in Los Angeles, and have now moved their base to Miami Beach. "From a creative standpoint, there are amazing opportunities for filmmakers today," says producer Kevin Chinoy, who, along with producing partner Frances..

Mark St. Germain has achieved ongoing success with small-cast plays involving historical figures in fictional scenarios, and South Florida has been as welcoming to his work as the rest of the country. St. Germain’s “Camping With Henry and Tom,” about a 1920s camping trip involving Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and President Warren G. Harding, was produced in 1996 by New Theatre in Coral Gables..

Mexico City-based theater collective Teatro Ojo's works are constantly evolving. Nothing is ever really finished. That's because they take from every performance. Whatever the audience experiences, observes, feels, and offers feedback, which they highly encourage, all is used, considered, and included in the evolution of the same piece, or introduced into another new work. Two of the ..

“America’s Greatest and Least Known Playwright.”This is how the Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes is referred to several times throughout Michelle Memran’s documentary “The Rest I Make Up,” which makes its Florida debut this Saturday as part of Miami-Dade College’s Miami Film Festival. Fornes has been called the “Mother of Avant-Garde Theater.” Theater giants like Edward A..

“Once” has always been touched with magic. And as anyone who has seen the sublime new production of the show by Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables would tell you, the musical’s spellbinding pull is as powerful as ever. When Irish director-screenwriter John Carney first told the tale of a heartbroken Irish street musician and the spunky Czech pianist who reignites his passion, a 200..

Consider the idea of land in Palestine, and conflict may be the first thing to come to mind. But for Jumana Emil Abboud, the Palestinian landscape evokes other, older, associations – with mythological creatures like water spirits and ghouls. “These stories were told way before 1948,” says the Galilee-born artist, speaking by phone from her home in Jerusalem. She suggests looking back ..

Baba Israel and MDC Live Arts Summer Lab


Photo: Baba Israel
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It’s 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning and 12 artists are being led through a warm up by New York-based theater artist Baba Israel. They reply to his command with twists and bends, finding complimentary motion in a partner across the room. An organic call erupts from one, and the others answer in response.

Such is the process during MDC Live Arts second annual month-long Live Arts Lab, created to offer Miami-based artists the opportunity to deepen their craft through rigorous study with master artists.

“Education is such a big part of MDC Live Arts, especially being based at Miami Dade College,” says Kathryn Garcia, MDC Live Arts Executive Director. “We wanted to expand on the education opportunities we already offer with something deeper. Something that would provide opportunities for our local artists to have experiences that challenges themselves and experiment with the creation of new work.”

In its first year, choreographer Nora Chipaumire explored the process of creating work -- asking participating artists: What is your voice as artists, what are you telling me and why should I care?

This year, Israel focuses on personal narrative and archive in performance. “We explore writing, spoken word, verse, as well as creating text through improvisation, recording, and collaboration,” he explains. Classes have seen the participants mixing physical exercises, working with original writings and bringing a theatrical element to dramatizations of stories from their lives.

“We are focused on developing a personal ethic when working with personal narratives, a philosophy on what each artist’s intention is around real stories and real life,” Israel says. “There’s been a lot of group development work, it’s a good chance for them to look at creating solo journeys.”

The artists participating in the Lab are a diverse representation of the creative voices that are defining Miami’s artistic narrative. Not limited to performing artists, the class includes visual artists with limited previous performance experience.

“I enjoy the diversity,” says Israel, who, when not teaching the Lab, has been developing a new theater piece, The Spinning Wheel, which premieres in London this November. “Having a class full of artists with such a broad range of disciplines and experiences removes any preconceived notions; there’s a freedom here. Everyone is willing to take chances, because it’s all slightly out of their comfort zone.”

One such artist stepping out of her comfort zone for this program is Miami-based dancer/choreographer Ivonne Batanero, who agrees. “From day one, I knew this was going to be good. I have taken many workshops and many times I find myself only learning a couple of new things; but in this program, I have been learning so much about so many other aspects of performance and theater that my experience has been one of the best ever.

“This was an opportunity to explore and find out if I have it in me to be able to create something like a one-woman show, a way to see what it felt like to be Ivonne the poet, spoken word artist and one-woman theater performer. Everything I learn is only going to enrich my work as a performer, dancer and choreographer.”

This year’s Live Arts Lab culminates with a free work-in-progress showing on Thursday, Aug. 28. All of the class participants -- including Israel -- will present work in an evening that will include samples of the solo performances they have been developing during the four-week intensive, as well as a bit of group imrov.

In addition to their annual summer Lab, MDC Live Arts plans to offer mini-labs during their performance season. For the 2014-2015 season, they are planning to offer two programs, a Wordpress workshop on Sept. 20, which will allow artists to learn about the popular blogging system and how they can utilize it for their own Websites and creative enterprises, and a week-long workshop on concepts of devised theater with the Texas-based theater company, Rude Mechanicals, in February 2015.

MDC Live presents Live Arts Lab Open Studio with Baba Israel, 6:00 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28; Prometeo Theater, MDC Wolfson Campus, downtown; 300 N.E. 2nd Ave., Miami. For more information, 305-237-3010, or www.mdclivearts.org.

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