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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..
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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..
Watching Neri Torres rehearse is a study in focus and concentration. She demonstrates each step with an ease developed from years of immersion in the study and performance of Afro-Cuban ..
Miami-based organization Delou Africa has been the ambassador of African dance and drumming in South Florida for the last 30 years. It started as a performing company, and has since expanded..
Miami Beach’s old city hall on a Thursday evening in June made a surreal set up for anyone familiar with tango’s broody scene -- a large cozy room full of cheerful, laughing, and smiling..
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With a heightened emphasis on “Noise” as an innovative musical genre, this sixth installment of the Miami Performance Festival International (M/P’17), running June 23 to 25, challenges South..
After 17 years as a principal dancer with the esteemed San Francisco Ballet, dancing every major role and style possible, Lorena Feijoo is retiring from that company to embark on a new journe..
Miami choreographer Marissa Alma Nick is a storyteller. Her company Alma Dance Theater brings a particularly female inner world to the stage, through lush and sensual choreography. Nick’s..
Pools are ubiquitous in Miami. They dot the landscape like Jackson Pollock drip paintings. Residents swim or idle the hours away by or in the pool – and dancers of Momentum Dance Company also perf..
Local musician Juraj Kojs has been making noise all around Miami. His latest project, Bang for the Train, is a musical campaign designed to highlight the local public transportation system. Kojs found that Miami’s system was inefficient to say the least, despite a strong personal commitment to travelling only by bus and train. After spending over three hours a day to commute just a short distance, he had to depend more on his car.
Public transportation, he says, is a vital place of human exchange where people sit together instead of being separated into individual and isolated “metal boxes” on the road.
Bang for the Train is a populist summoning for policy change, set to appear at various locations around town. The project debuted at Miami Light Project’s Here & Now showcase in May. Known for his experimental approach to instrumentation, Slovakian native and co-founder of the Foundation for Emerging Technologies and Arts (FETA), Kojs made some field recordings of Miami trains and scored them as music. He added an adaptation of an old railroad standard, Wabash Cannonball.
For the opening appearance, Kojs’s percussionist team played empty water bottles, plastic tubes and other objects he calls “beaters,” and moved in procession through the Miami Light theater space and eventually out into the street. While the composition was structured around Kojs’s unconventional score as played by musical performers, the audience was given beaters and encouraged to make sounds by banging on metal bars, dumpsters, signposts, whatever.
This past weekend, Bang for the Train made a second appearance, presented as part of Edge Zone’s Miami Performance International Festival. The venue, Miami Beach Botanical Garden, was decidedly less urban than Miami Light Project’s Wynwood warehouse. But between the exotic palms and groomed grass there were plenty of walls and tables and metal things to bang on.
Again, Kojs repurposed plastic waste as instruments. Here, the percussionists used the flimsy plastic pots that usually end up in the trash after a day of planting. Each musician started with a mini drum kit of overturned pots on the floor. When they stood up and started moving through the garden, they played on whatever surface was available, shouting the word “train” and calling out names of metro stops: “Brickell, City Center, Allapattah….”
The audience was supplied with plastic pots and paint sticks wrapped with duct tape. Although the audience at the botanical garden was not large enough to make a big ruckus, the intention was clear and the message was delivered.
In both its activist bent and its musical creativity, Bang for the Train is accessible and satisfying. The sound generated from the homemade instruments is more subtle and sonically appealing than expected. And the piece successfully engages the public, not just within each performance but also through repetition in different parts of the city.
By extending the project to multiple locations, Kojs connects different neighborhoods, mirroring the kind of location-linking that happens with a train network. Momentary communities are formed at each event, and maybe, some interest in political action is sparked.
While future plans for Bang on the Train are still in the works, Kojs hopes to bring the project into more public zones. He is currently in conversation with local transit and urban planning organizations including Miami-Dade Transportation & Public Works and Miami-Dade Transportation Enhancements to extend the project and bring greater awareness to his cause.
Stay tuned for more departure times; http://www.kojs.net/
An extended version of this story runs in MIami New Times.
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