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..
Getting into a true holiday spirit can be tough in South Florida, where palm trees, expansive beaches and balmy skies signal perpetual summer. Ever-earlier store décor and the incessant push to buy presents – more about commercialism than celebration – can make many of us feel more anxious than festive. Not to worry. Just squeeze in a trip to Miami’s Arsht Center, where City Theatre h..
One of the centerpieces of this year’s Art Week is not a static art work, and it is also one of the most sensuous and disorienting. Lebanese performance artist Tania El Khoury is producing her “Gardens Speak” for the week, courtesy of MDC Live Arts, a piece that has been applauded in cultural capitals throughout Europe and the United States. “It is a work,” she says, “that can only co..
Since its founding in 1996, City Theatre has been an important part of South Florida’s theatrical landscape, though the company’s visibility has always been highest in the month of June. That’s when its popular Summer Shorts festival takes place; for more than a decade, its high-profile venue has been the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami’s Arsht Center. Though the company founded by S..
If you were to predict who might become a nationally famous – OK, world-famous – multiplatform sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer would probably not be your first choice. Born in Germany in 1928 as Karola Ruth Siegel, the 4’7” Dr. Ruth seems more like the doting Jewish grandmother she is than a woman who used her nationally syndicated radio show, TV shows and 40-some books to help hun..
Actors’ Playhouse has been a musical powerhouse for much of its history. Launching its 30th anniversary season at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, the company is revisiting some of that history with a new production of a made-for-South Florida favorite: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Evita.” As it did in 2000 when recent Tony Award winner Rachel Bay Jones starred as Eva Duart..
Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks won the Pulitzer Prize for “Topdog/Underdog” in 2002. But as Zoetic Stage’s superb new production of the play at Miami’s Arsht Center demonstrates, her funny, shocking tale of two brothers struggling to survive is as potent today as it was 15 years ago. Maybe more so, given the country’s deepening divide. Parks’ harrowing drama examines the complex relation..
We are born. We live, have families, grow old. We die, leaving those who loved us to mourn. Playwright Thornton Wilder brilliantly captured the eternal verities of our journey through life in “Our Town,” his 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about life, love and death in a small New Hampshire town at the turn of the 20th century. If you’re at all drawn to theater, you’ve probably ..
“Miami Motel Stories: Little Havana” written by Juan C. Sanchez, directed by Tamilla Woodard, and produced by Juggerknot Theatre Company, is a site-specific, immersive theater experience that interweaves narrative, performance, history and architecture. Nine short plays take place in nine hotel rooms on the second floor of the Tower Hotel, right off Calle Ocho on Seventh Street. Sanchez, ..
Celebrated Zimbabwe-born, Brooklyn-based dancer/choreographer Nora Chipaumire returns to Miami for a third time with her latest work, Portrait of Myself as My
Presented this week by MDC Live Arts and Miami Light Project at The Light Box at Goldman’s Warehouse, Chipaumire veers from her study of African
female identity to explore masculinity in a piece that started as a letter to the father she never knew, one lost to divorce when she was 5, and
to death when she was 13.
“I was interested in how I could create the kind of father that I would have liked to have,” Chipaumire says. “He’d be a superhero who’d be super cool: cooler than Shaft, cooler than Isaac Hayes, cooler than Muhammad Ali, a combination of all the heroes that I believe in, the African James Bond. I tried to create a portrait of my father that was a combination of virtuosic men.”
Chipaumire began studying masculinity through sport, and ended up focusing on the notion of boxing as a metaphor. Throughout the show, she performs tethered toSenegalese dancer Pape Ibrahima Ndiaye. Together, the pair prowl the stage-cum-boxing ring, the delineation between playing space and audiences marked by ropes and lights. A third performer, Shamar Watt, dressed in both coattails and athletic wear, shadows the pair. Chipamuire’s supple frame is bulked up thanks to football pads, and hidden beneath low slung, baggy pants, which stand in contrast to the briefs that adorn Ndiaye, his body and masculinity on full display.
To understand the physical manifestation of masculinity, she spent time watching the way men moved during residencies in Senegal and the Ivory Coast. “I was collecting a database of how these young men were getting down with their bodies, and the precision they moved with. I realized there is a very specific way that men are dancing – it’s very urban, fresh and full of virtuosity, and braggadocio in the face of so many difficulties, and I was trying to embody that, and do it my way,” she explains.
“It became more about the psychological placement, and placement of sounds in my body, how I operate in the world.”
Not just a study of gender, the piece also explores the dichotomy between blackness and Africanness. “Black and African are two separate ideas that I constantly work with, and wanted to understand better how they differ and the ways they intersect. I’m Black, but I’m also African,” says Chipaumire. “Black American men are much more overt, the stereotypical mans’ man, the swag that’s in your face. The African man is less so, it’s much more sexy and elegant, but nonetheless there is a great deal of machismo that runs through both of them -- but the African tends to couch it a bit, hidden under cultural norms.”
Exploring blackness, especially male blackness, is a particularly potent message in the United States, both historically and presently. While not a part of Chipaumire’s original, more personal motivation for the piece, she’s happy to add to the ongoing dialogue of race.
As she recalls with solemnity, “As I started working on this, Trayvon Martin was killed, and all these other black male shootings started to become an ongoing thing. And now, with Black Lives Matter, it has become part of our daily vocabulary; we have come so far in a short time with the conversation of black males – it’s intense, and I’m very happy to be a part of a conversation that is very necessary and that is difficult.
“There is a responsibility to family,” she adds, “and that’s the African part of me. You are raised in this community that is a family, and there are responsibilities to it, and from them to you, so I’m trying to overlay the landscape of family when I’m in that boxing ring.”
MDC Live Arts and Miami Light Project present Nora Chipaumire ‘Portrait Of Myself As My
Father’, 8:00p.m., October 14-15, The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26th St., Miami Tickets: $30, $10 for MDC students mdclivearts.org.
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