The play begins, as it must, with the velvet voice of Nat King Cole crooning “Mona Lisa.” After all, how many paintings inspire an Oscar-winning song? For that matter, how many masterpieces survive damage, theft and the rapacious covetousness of collectors for more than half a millennium? Leonardo da Vinci’s “La Gioconda,” popularly known as the Mona Lisa, is that inspi..
A casual conversation with a fellow theater artist prompted José Manuel Dominguez, founder and artistic director of Antiheroes Project, to produce the company’s latest piece, “El tiempo de las mandarinas,” (“Season for Tangerines”) by Argentine playwright Rafael Nofal. “I am drawn to themes of memory, dreams, and paradise lost, but for a long time I’ve wanted to do a play based on reality,” sa..
The 32nd International Hispanic Theatre Festival kicks off on Thursday, July 6 with the Mexican company Los Tristes Tigres’ irreverent spin on Shakespeare, “Algo de un tal Shakespeare” (“Something by One Shakespeare”). Founder and director Mario Ernesto Sánchez, the festival’s engine that could and still can, identifies this raucous play as part of the festival’s larger goal of attracting..
Nowadays, it’s tough not to feel worried, paranoid or in need of some escapist relief from the steady flow of oh-no-he-didn’t news out of Washington. Miami playwright Theo Reyna feels your pain. His response is “Firemen Are Rarely Necessary,” a jet-black satire now getting its Mad Cat Theatre Company world premiere at Miami Theater Center’s Sand Box. The play takes intricately aim..
Pearl Cleage’s play “Flyin’ West,” an M Ensemble production currently on stage at the beautiful new performing arts center in Liberty City, the Sandrell Rivers Theatre, is set in humble Nicodemus, Kansas, the only remaining western town established by African Americans during the reconstruction period following the Civil War. Set in 1898, the play focuses on the lives of Sophie (Brandiss ..
Esteban, (http://estebanlapelicula.com/en/) the debut of Cuban director Jonal Cosculluela being premiered at The Miami Light Project tells the story of a 9 year old, living in Havana with his mother, who’s raising him as a single parent, and his perseverance following his dream of becoming a musician. The challenges seem overwhelming. Esteban and his mother struggle to make ends meet (htt..
Desperate times call for desperate measures. For some, that might mean taking a second or third job. Or robbing a bank. Or moving in with family. For Casey, a straight lip-syncing Elvis impersonator in a Panama City bar, desperation means forsaking the King’s rhinestone-studded jumpsuit for leg hair-hiding pantyhose, fake boobs and big-hair wigs, the better to sell himself as a fa..
Writing about “Broken Snow,” the Ben Andron thriller now getting its world premiere at the J’s Cultural Arts Theatre (JCAT) in North Miami Beach, is a proposition almost as tricky as the play itself. The intricately structured 90-minute drama is loaded with surprises, twists and turns, all revealed at precisely the right moment so that the play builds to its shattering conclusion..
As this steamy spring melts into a sweltering summer, Actors’ Playhouse is inviting theater lovers to a wedding – a big, fat Jewish-WASP wedding, otherwise known as the Broadway musical “It Shoulda Been You.” Though the show seemingly takes place in the present, the piece by book writer-lyricist Brian Hargrove and composer Barbara Anselmi is an old-fashioned, stereotype-filled throwba..
'Death & Harry Houdini' Makes Another Magical Moment at ArshtDennis Watkins knows how to make an entrance. In the House Theatre of Chicago’s “Death & Harry Houdini,” now back at the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater five years after it first wowed Miami audiences, Watkins arrives onstage with the help of theater technology unknown in Houdini’s day. Dangling upside dow..
As programs like the recent Dance USA conference continue to shine a spotlight on Miami’s flourishing dance community, choreographers are constantly looking for new ways to finance and get their work seen. Programs like Miami Light Project’s pioneering Here & Now commissioning series and Miami Theater Center’s Sand Box Series have proven that directly supporting generative artists is a key way for an artistic community to thrive. Stepping in as a new source of support for dance in Miami is Grass Stains, a commissioning and mentorship program developed by choreographer Pioneer Winter, expressly for artists looking to create site-specific dance.
With support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Grass Stains is launching its inaugural program with commissions to six Miami-based dance artists: Jenny Larsen, Agustina Woodgate, Marissa Nick, Hattie Mae Williams, Niurca Marquez, and Ana Mendez.
In addition to a $5,000 commission fee, commissioned artists will work one-on-one with a mentor, who in this first year is Guggenheim Fellow and Bessie Award-winning artist Stephan Koplowitz, dean of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. Koplowitz will work with artists not only on the artistic development of their work, but on how to manage the careful balancing act of producer and artist.
It’s a program that Winter feels will deeply invest on the creative community of South Florida. “It’s a capital building project,” he says emphatically. “It’s not just like here is $5,000; it’s here is $5,000, AND here is a mentor to help you make strong work now, so you can continue making strong work in the future.”
Commissioned artists will spend the fall studying with Koplowitz remotely, before engaging in an in-person intensive in January 2016. It will be around this time that artists will start identifying the sites they will develop their work on. The final performances will begin premiering in June 2016.
Another interesting facet to the program -- each of the commissioned artists commits to assist in one another’s work. “Whether it’s ushering or it’s helping out with sound or something until you do realize that this isn’t just fixing the digital artists, this is a cohort … It’s like a fellowship almost, “ explains Winter.
It was this holistic investment approach to supporting both the artists and their work that was what attracted commissioned artist Ana Mendez to apply. “I like investigating how I make work. I’m looking forward to working with this group who will support me and give feedback, and I’ll give feedback,” she says.
By focusing on site-specific work, Winter also sees a way to further develop and marry the audiences for both performance and art in Miami. “I think site-specific performance is one of the best ways to blend in different genres of art and performance together, so I also see in the future more blending in of our audiences, which are for the most part pretty segregated.”
“I’m most excited about the lasting impact it will have, that this is not a one-shot thing, this is something that will continue, this is a link that the artist will now have to -- a really great mentor and artist.”
For her part, Mendez is eager to explore unique locations and get to work imbuing then with her creative work. “I want to charge a place with energy -- take an empty place and infuse it with magic, make a place not so special, special. I love that we have a mentor to do this.”
For more information, go to pioneerwinter.com/grass-stains/
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