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Rafael Nofal’s play “El tiempo de la mandarinas” (“Season for Tangerines”) tackles the very relevant and disturbing theme of human trafficking. Produced by Antiheroes Project, this moving play is in its last week at Artefactus Teatro, a well-purposed black box and gallery space in a smattering of warehouses in Kendall. Nofal’s text removes overt violence and male characters fr..
Joshua Harmon’s savagely funny “Bad Jews” is an emotional cage match set in a pricey Manhattan studio apartment. The combatants are Daphna Feygenbaum (Hannah Benitez), a soon-to-be Vassar grad who plans to move to Israel, marry a man no one in the family has met and become a rabbi, and her cousin Liam Haber (Joseph Paul Pino), a master’s degree candidate and atheist who intends to..
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..
“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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