“Baño de Luna,” written and directed by Pulitzer-prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz and presented by Arca Images and the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, marks the debut of the Spanish-language version of “Bathing in Moonlight,” the original English production that debuted at the prestigious McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, N.J., in 2016. Performed by a stellar cast in Spanish..
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..
May’s “Mujeres” series of strong, multi-faceted, women-focused productions, commissioned for Miami Theater Center’s SandBox space, concludes with Spanish-born dancer-choreographer Carlota Pradera’s presentation of “Volcanic.”
With support from Knight Foundation arts grants, the SandBox has served up dozens of experimental works by ambitious and daring talents – mostly Miami-based. In January, 2017 intrepid dancer-choreographer Lazaro Godoy and artistic partner Pradera performed together in “ArMOUR,” his story of an entrapped, armor-plated character, unsheathed by the power of love. This time, Pradera takes the creative lead. Her haunting production dares to meld Nordic folklore, autobiography and oblique references to contemporary political dynamics.
Backed by intrepid production talents, who support the drama’s shifting moods of exploration, meditation and peril, Pradera – always an adventurer – has created a dance/installation for two, not-exactly-human personae engaged in an extended struggle. While choreography was still in flux during workshop, the central vision was crystallizing.
First viewed atop a mountain of stacked foam blocks – spookily illuminated, the heroine (Pradera) hesitatingly clambers down. Deep booming horns and sounds of crackling ice accompany her descent to the stage floor, where her nemesis lurks menacingly in the darkness – at some distance.
Pradera explains that her character first moves “as if it has an embryonic coating, like a baby animal.” Along the way, she continues, “these layers start peeling off until we get to the most inside – to the volcanic.” Her antagonist, played by musician-dancer Christy Garcia, who adopts the guise and movements of a Spider Witch, binds and captures her. “I have cast Carlota's character into banishment, and now [she] is going to try to fight her way to her homeland, and I don't want to let her do that,” Garcia explained. “I want to keep her outcast, but under my control.”
The Spider Witch’s Machiavellian malevolence is heightened by Ana María Morales’ evocative costuming and dynamic lighting design. Swathed in a tangle of ragged red fabric, Garcia engages Pradera in physical and psychological battle. The dancers’ emotional states are mirrored in visual and sonic evocations of ice, rock, fire, water and fire.
Federico Jes Bonacossa’s multi-channel soundscape contributes ever-shifting moods, rhythms and textures. He deftly blends recorded and live instrumental music, natural and electronic sounds and piercing screeches by the performers – in a nuanced mix. The dancers’ stalking, feints and cathartic engagement play out against an expansive set, primarily realized by visual artist Robert McKnight and brother Donald. Its glistening wall composition, fabricated with draped and folded paper rolls and mirror mylar suggest a jagged, windblown, glacial vista and dripping cave. It stretches between the “ice mountain” and a “lava pool.” McKnight describes his process as a fluid “call and response” dynamic, mixing premeditated design with spontaneity.
The drama culminates against the “heart core” of the backdrop, explains Pradera. Garcia adds, “When they come face-to-face and Carlota’s character is playing for her life, she realizes that the Spider is there to help her transition.” Both have transformed through their encounters; stereotypes of good and evil are questioned, as they discover they have more in common than they knew.
To say more would spoil the denouement that awaits audiences in the May 26 premiere.
“Volcanic’ performances begin at 8:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays May 26-27, June 2-3 and June 9-10, Miami Theater Center’s SandBox, 9806 NE 2nd Ave., Miami Shores; tickets $25. 305-751-9550. www.mtcmiami.org
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