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..
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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, ..
Artistic director and founder of Juggerknot Theatre Company, Tanya Bravo, had her first brush with immersive theater in New York City when she met director Tamilla Woodard. Working on the play “Broken City,” Bravo and other actors led audience members on a theatrical journey through the streets of the Lower East Side. “I was so blown away by the concept and the lines that were crossed between ..
We humans do love our rituals. When an extended family gathers for the holidays, familiar traditions promise a comforting respite from an increasingly complex, chaotic world. Still, realistically, troubles and fears refuse to be left behind. They surface like unwelcome guests. So do resentments and stinging remarks born of deep knowledge. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you wonder: ..
Seattle-based choreographer Pat Graney started working on her newest project Girl Gods in 2012. It is the second installment of a triptych that began with her 2008 project House of Mind. Yet her upcoming appearance at Miami Light Project’s Lightbox is perfectly timed to engage some of the shock and disappointment of current events. In general, Graney’s creative work explores issues of women and identity, topics now floating right at the surface of the collective American consciousness. In Girl Gods, she considers the female rage that has been passed down through families and generations.
A few days after the election, we spoke with her about the personal and national politics of the moment.
Interesting time to be talking to you. This piece has a lot to do with female rage, which is so relevant right now. How do you access that in the piece itself?
When we started this process about three years ago, I was really looking [at generational] rage. Where is the female voice? Mostly it has been repressed. Those voices are not allowed. In most peoples’ families, men held the place of rage and it was completely acceptable. But women either stuffed it or ate it or died from it.
We had been talking about that for a couple years. We did these rage solos, which are not directly included in the piece but were absolutely amazing. We wrote stories about people in our families. We talked about our moms, and everybody interviewed their moms. We were looking at the completely unacknowledged role of women in terms of being caregivers and building the home space.
How do you feel as an artist and a woman about what’s happening now in the U.S.?
I think that Obama’s presidency has been brilliant and has done so much in terms of normalizing people who have been ostracized since day one in this country. And I think people are really afraid of that change. I think it’s about fear. Fear of contemporary culture, global culture, refugee culture.
And how about the female aspect, with Hillary Clinton’s loss?
It is so heartbreaking to me. It’s going back into a cupboard of the pre-‘70s. It shows me that people are terrified of women in this country. They are terrified of female leadership. And that’s so distressing and incredibly sad for me as an American and a woman. It strikes out all these things that we feel we’ve made amazing headway in the last eight years. We’ve had an amazing first lady. It’s so devastating that it’s hard to act, actually. So the rage thing for me feels absolutely current, and a perfect response.
What was your creative process for Girl Gods?
I do all the writing. But I don’t really go into a studio, turn on music and dance around, that’s just not my process. I created a Pinterest board with thousands of images of movement. We took those images, and each person chose 12. We linked them all together to make 60 images, which is the basis for all the movement in the piece. We put it upside down, we did it sideways. There are people in ecstatic movement. There’s sad stuff. There are all these emotional impressions that you go through when you see the images and it becomes a vocabulary for the piece.
And there is also a text component?
People don’t speak, but there are recorded voices. One of the performers is pouring tea and her mother is talking about rage when she was a young girl and her brother was favored. It’s just electrifying to hear that, because it’s so deep and so molten. She ends up pouring this red sand out of this teapot. It’s… intense. And then there’s black sand in the piece too, which is falling the entire time.
There’s a certain power in bringing something from the inside out, even if it’s a story of repression.
I hope that people identify with it and take hope and power from it. Not the repression. I think we all have enough of that. But I think that finding a volcano opening for this rage is important, and I think it’s going to be more important in the coming years.
Miami Light Project Presents ‘Girl Gods’ by Pat Graney Company, Friday and Saturday, 8:00 p.m., The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26th St., Miami. Tickets $15-25, www.miamilightproject.com
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