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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..

Miami’s venerable M Ensemble is a company that sometimes dips into its rich history to mount fresh productions of past shows. For its second production in its versatile new home at the Sandrell Rivers Theater in Liberty City, the troupe is revisiting Darren Canady’s “Brothers of the Dust.” Winner of the 2012 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award from the American Theatre Critics Association, the ..

“El cuento de Rene,” actor and director Larry Villanueva’s adaptation of Cuban writer Rene Ariza’s short stories into a work of theater, is more than an homage. It’s a statement on oppression. Ariza was sentenced to eight years in prison for trying to send manuscripts abroad. He was banned from creating theater in Cuba and condemned as “counter-revolutionary.” Ariza served five years of h..

Those who attend film festivals aren't looking for the mainstream, Cineplex offerings. That isn't the goal. Amid the indie films, the foreign entries, documentaries, and the world premieres, there's another reason to canvass the program for something you might not see anywhere else. Given the Miami Film Festival is the only major film festival to be produced by a college or university..

{This interview was conducted before the film making team went on to amazing Oscar success.} Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney and filmmaker Barry Jenkins are nine miles away from the Liberty City housing projects where they both grew up, but they are worlds away. They are at the picturesque Standard Hotel to talk about the new movie "Moonlight," with a screenplay by Jenkins base..

First things first. Actor-playwright Elena María García does explain the meaning of “¡FUÁCATA!” somewhere deep into the 90-minute running time of Zoetic Stage’s “García Or a Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe.” The familiar Cuban term, she confides from her perch on Michael McKeever’s Mondrian-evocative set, suggests the sound of a slap. As in, “¡Fuácata! You really stepped in i..

Reggie Wilson’s ‘CITIZEN‘: To Belong or Not to Belong?


Photo: Photo © Aitor Mendilibar
Written by: Diana Dunbar
Article Rating

“What does it mean to belong? What does it mean to not want to belong?” These are questions that choreographer Reggie Wilson contemplates in his provocative piece “CITIZEN,“ which makes its Miami debut this weekend as part of Tigertail Productions’ month-long FIRE program of dance, music and film.

In a conversation with Wilson during a rehearsal break, these two questions quickly expanded to a discussion of the life of former slave Jean-Baptiste Belley, the writer and activist Zora Neale Hurston, immigrants and refugees, Trayvon Martin and the Black Lives Matter movement. Wilson founded the New York City-based company Fist & Heel Performance Group in 1989, and is a 2002 Bessie-New York Dance and Performance Award recipient for his work “The Tie-tongued Goat and the Lightning Bug Who Tried to Put Her Foot Down.”

This piece was sparked by a portrait at the French palace of Versailles, titled “Citizen Jean-Baptiste Belley.” Belley was a slave from Senegal who purchased his freedom, fought in the Haitian Revolution and was elected to the French National Convention. Where did he belong? His image appears, a presence from the past, in this “CITIZEN.“ As much as the Belley portrait may have jump-started Wilson’s thinking on the concept of belonging, he says Neale Hurston was the key inspiration. “Why did she always return?” he asks of the writer, folklorist and anthropologist associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She traveled often during the 1920s and ‘30s, but always came back to the United States, when returning meant facing discrimination and racism, and when some of her African-American colleagues had transplanted to Paris. But asks Wilson, did they really belong there either?

Wilson’s questioning expanded: Do we all belong somewhere? And what happens when the place we think we belong no longer wants you. Many immigrants and refugees face this dilemma, as do many Americans. So much was swirling around this topic in the country as Wilson developed “CITIZEN:” the killing of black men by police, growing anti-immigrant sentiment, hostility towards refugees. Do you belong? Or not?

The origin of the name of Wilson’s Fist & Heel Performance Group, according to the company’s webpage, derived from the “practices of enslaved Africans in America who reinvented their spiritual traditions into a deep, soulful art form dismissed by overseers as fist and heel worshipping.” “CITIZEN,“ Wilson says, “ is about the past [and] also about the present,” with roots in Africa and its diaspora.

His creative process often begins with an obsession -- something, he says, his mind returns to over and over again. He thinks of the form it should take. Then he takes it to the studio and to rehearsals; works on the structure and the material; and creates a dance.

“CITIZEN” is comprised of a series of solos, while a video projection of the dancers executing the same movements plays on a screen. They are alone in a group. “It’s very repetitious,” explains Wilson. Movement passages occur repeatedly, like the cycle of immigrants and refugees seeking a place to belong. “What does it mean to belong?” “What does it mean to not want to belong?” Likely members of the Miami audience will be facing just such questions.

Reggie Wilson/ Fist & Heel Performance Group, Friday and Saturday, 8:30 p.m.; Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler, Miami. Tickets $25 general, $20 student/senior; 305-324-4337; www. Tigertail.org

 


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