Though the Miami New Drama-commissioned “Queen of Basel” will have its official world premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington D.C. next season, you don’t have to wait or travel to discover how playwright Hilary Bettis has reimagined August Strindberg’s controversial 1888 classic “Miss Julie.” With three powerful actors and a small audience sharing the stage space at Miami Beach’s Co..
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, now 33, was named a MacArthur “genius” grant winner in 2016, the same year his play “Gloria” was chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Earlier, his provocative, stylistically diverse, subversive plays “Appropriate” and “An Octoroon” (the latter was produced by Coral Gables’ Area Stage last fall) each won best new American play Obie Awards. ..
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Early on in the Argentinean film “El Último Traje” (The Last Suit), which makes its U.S. theatrical debut this week, a deceptively quaint and humorous scene takes place between the film’s protagonist, 88-year-old Abraham Bursztein and his young granddaughter. The little girl refuses to join in a family photo with Abraham surrounded by his many grandchildren. When he cajoles and insists, ..
Gone are the days when filmmakers needed huge budgets, and major movie studios backing them with big bucks to get their films seen, according to two producers who spent decades in Los Angeles, and have now moved their base to Miami Beach. "From a creative standpoint, there are amazing opportunities for filmmakers today," says producer Kevin Chinoy, who, along with producing partner Frances..
Mark St. Germain has achieved ongoing success with small-cast plays involving historical figures in fictional scenarios, and South Florida has been as welcoming to his work as the rest of the country. St. Germain’s “Camping With Henry and Tom,” about a 1920s camping trip involving Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and President Warren G. Harding, was produced in 1996 by New Theatre in Coral Gables..
Mexico City-based theater collective Teatro Ojo's works are constantly evolving. Nothing is ever really finished. That's because they take from every performance. Whatever the audience experiences, observes, feels, and offers feedback, which they highly encourage, all is used, considered, and included in the evolution of the same piece, or introduced into another new work. Two of the ..
“America’s Greatest and Least Known Playwright.”This is how the Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes is referred to several times throughout Michelle Memran’s documentary “The Rest I Make Up,” which makes its Florida debut this Saturday as part of Miami-Dade College’s Miami Film Festival. Fornes has been called the “Mother of Avant-Garde Theater.” Theater giants like Edward A..
“Once” has always been touched with magic. And as anyone who has seen the sublime new production of the show by Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables would tell you, the musical’s spellbinding pull is as powerful as ever. When Irish director-screenwriter John Carney first told the tale of a heartbroken Irish street musician and the spunky Czech pianist who reignites his passion, a 200..
Consider the idea of land in Palestine, and conflict may be the first thing to come to mind. But for Jumana Emil Abboud, the Palestinian landscape evokes other, older, associations – with mythological creatures like water spirits and ghouls. “These stories were told way before 1948,” says the Galilee-born artist, speaking by phone from her home in Jerusalem. She suggests looking back ..
“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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