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..
Director Carlos Lechuga’s masterful unspooling of time in his second feature film “Santa y Ándres” constructs a uniquely Cuban mix of tedium and despair, resulting in an emotionally intense experience that sneaks up on the viewer in plain sight. The film opens with the stillness of a landscape painting: the eastern Cuban countryside of 1983 – rugged, lush, and verdant. The statuesque..
Memory – deep-seated, fragile, slippery, mutable – is at the heart of Jordan Harrison’s “Marjorie Prime.” A Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2015, the play is a family tragicomedy given a sci-fi makeover; in other words, this thought-provoking theater piece charts its own, fresh path. Now getting its South Florida premiere as the second professional production from the Main Street Players, ..
The stage is a fixed space. It is the axis around which story, conflict, and character revolve. When that fixed space shifts, new possibilities emerge. Starting Wednesday, April 23, a shifting site for theater emerges at Deering Estate, a 444-acre environmental, archeological, and historical preserve along the edge of Biscayne Bay in Palmetto Bay. Four local playwrights have collaborated ..
Nearly two years ago, Miami’s Zoetic Stage took its first trip into the world of Harold Pinter with an intense, superbly acted production of the Nobel laureate’s 1978 hit “Betrayal” in the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater. Now Zoetic is delving further back into the Pinter canon with a riveting production of “The Caretaker.” This 1960 work is, like “Betrayal,” a three-character ..
Imagine animation created live on stage, with mini backdrops, puppets, and low-tech props. Channel it through multiple cameras and mix it live into a projected film. Add a string quartet and a DJ. This is the structure of “Nufonia Must Fall,” an upcoming project presented by MDC Live Arts. The show is slated for appearances around the world, from Asia and the Middle East to Europe and..
That Actors’ Playhouse opened its production of Robert Schenkkan’s “All the Way” on the same day that the American Health Care Act was pulled from a vote by the House of Representatives is ironic and more than a little instructive. The much-touted replacement for Obamacare didn’t have enough sure votes to ensure passage, as Speaker Paul Ryan told President Donald Trump, so the “replac..
The take-no-prisoners world of high finance and ruthless business deals has long been a tantalizing subject for artists. From filmmaker Oliver Stone’s 1987 “Wall Street,” with its antihero Gordon Gekko spouting “greed is good,” to Damien Lewis’ slick hedge fund mogul Bobby Axelrod in the Showtime series “Billions,” movies and television allow those of us in the 99 percent a glimpse at wha..
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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