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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 ..

Delou and the African Diaspora Drum and Dance Fest

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Night is falling in Little Haiti. Summer rains moisten the air even after the last late afternoon drop. Humidity connects bodies and elements in our tropical, pluralistic town. The feeling of dew on the skin is a shared practice. It is nearly 8:00 p.m. and the sun is still out with a post rainbow hued sky. I enter the Little Haiti Cultural Center. The lobby welcomes you with a wrap -round mural painted desk, created by local artist Jude Papaloko. The halls buzz with musicians and dancers entering and exiting the large and exquisite dance space. Inside the room, resident dance company Delou Africa Dance Ensemble rehearses for their headlining concert at their 3rd Annual African Diaspora Drum and Dance Festival of Florida taking place on Saturday, Aug. 4 at 7:45 pm. “Pick it up a notch!” exclaims Njeri Plato, Delou’s founding director. “Folks -- go all the way down,” she insists and gestures to her dancers to bring their entire torsos forward. “Everybody understand that?” Trinidadian born Plato began West African dance in the 1970s in New York City and continued after moving to Miami in 1981. After visiting Senegal and Gambia in 1985 with subsequent trips of intensive study, she started her dance company, Delou African Dance Ensemble, in 1987.“Delou means ‘to go back or return’” she explains through a vibrant smile. “It is a return to Africa… and the West Indian genres of dance including yanvalou (from Haiti), traditional West African and Mozambique (rhythm).” It is clear that her passion for African dance and culture is grounded by knowledge and rooted in respect. “We want to bring cultural awareness and unity and show that African drum and dance has no language barriers.” The festival is comprehensive, offering 24 workshops over 3 days with 15 international choreographers. The spirit of collaboration is evident during the rehearsal when Delou’s music and historical consultant, Ibrahima Dioubate, stops the dancers and drummers and motions over to Plato. After a brief discussion, they tweak a moment in the choreography. Guinean born Dioubate, whose lineage is Griot, is an oral historian and master musician of traditional instruments such as the balafon and djun-djun drum, which date back to the 13th Century. Griots are not just musicians, but cultural leaders who serve as peacekeepers, spiritual advisors, and engage in diplomacy. They are central figures in celebrations and rites of passage as they offer historical knowledge and information that moves society forward. Dioubate was born into a Griot family and his knowledge base is an accumulation of lived and ancestral experience. After some gestures to the dancers, he makes eye contact with Mamadouba Mohamed Camara, one of the visiting artists featured in the festival. He came several weeks early to help Dioubate, one of his lifelong mentors, comprise the show conceptually and musically. Camara explains to me that his family in Guinea did not approve of him becoming a musician in his youth. “My dad was angry. He saw me performing on TV and broke the TV,” he remembers with a chuckle. Many years have passed since then and Camara is a world renowned musician with a vast international reach. He admits that now “my mother is happy.” Inside the rehearsal, Camara sits center among six other drummers. He signals the commencement and ending of each song through visual and auditory cues. He stops the music, stands and gives a choreographic note to the dancers. I look over as the drummers seize the moment to massage their blood-pulped palms. Delou Africa Dance Ensemble teaches us that the drum is more than an instrument, it is a relationship. The 3rd Annual African Diaspora Drum and Dance Festival of Florida will provide three days of such relationships from Cuba, Senegal, Ivory coast, Republic of Guinea, Haiti, and beyond. One of the many highlights of the festival is the “Bridging Cultural Gaps” concert on Sat., Aug. 4th at 7:45 p.m. that will feature Delou Africa Dance Ensemble, Delou Fatala, and a special collaboration from master artists from the Caribbean and West Africa. The concert will end with a Dundunba celebration. There will be an award ceremony, which will conclude with a raffle drawing that will include two round trip tickets to South Africa, and other prizes. The festival takes place Aug. 3 to 5, at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212-260 N.E. 59th Terr., Miami; tickets for the various workshops range from free to $20; tickets for the Saturday concert cost $15; go to for more information on times and events. This article also appears in the Miami Sun Post.
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