Even before the election that transformed billionaire reality TV star Donald J. Trump into the 45th president of the United States, playwright Robert Schenkkan was so disturbed by the candidate’s anti-immigrant rhetoric that he decided to respond. Not with a Tweet. Not with an opinion-page essay. The Pulitzer Prize winner spoke back to candidate Trump with a full-length play. “Building..
“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..
Orlando Taquechel, dance critic for two decades at the El Nuevo Herald (and now a contributor to Artburst), will have a book signing and discussion of his new book, “La danza in Miami (1998-..
The name Flamenco conjures the machine-gun snap of heels, arms arched overhead, the flick of red fabric and laser-like glares from beneath the starched black brim of a Cordobes hat. At the ed..
It’s easy to believe the only excitement Miami offers in September are the dire warnings from the weather service about the approach of yet another tropical storm. However, dance lovers in Mi..
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..
When Ballet Flamenco La Rosa takes to the stage this weekend, it will present a program based on traditions which were handed down through the ages. A program filled with the mysteries of fl..
With every great new love, the beginning is a crucible of extremes – will it endure for decades or permanently scar?The program for Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami’sJuly 8show, “Fiebre: A N..
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..
Talk of weddings can quickly split a friendly gathering into camps of pro and con. Those on the pro side retell the moment when the crying six-year-old ring bearer, stunned by the attention of the hall, was comforted by a phalanx of tuxedoed best men. The cons describe the newlyweds whose forever love couldn’t survive two weeks in Acapulco.
The organizers of Miami’s 24th Mainly Mozartfestival know the joys and shortcomings of the human ritual and have selected works for this year’s finale intended to present the celebration with all its quirks. This Sunday at the Arsht Center, they have united musicians from the Cleveland and Cincinnati orchestras, dancers from Miami City Ballet and the work of poet-scholar Mitchell Chefitz, rabbi at Temple Beth Israel Miami, for a closing performance that includes works from Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and several others.
Artistic Director Marina Radiushina emphasized that this year’s finale may be named The Jewish Bride,but the intention behind the title was to acknowledge the subject’s rich musical tradition as well as to affirm the universality of marriage.“Marriage is the common theme uniting the program’s different works. Marriage is about how there comes to be a unit that wasn’t there before – there were forces that created this unit; this could be said about the creation of the entire universe, just as it is said about the marriage between a man and a woman,” reflected Radiushina.
Whether you are pro or con on marriage, weddings are ceremonies with many moving parts, and the program represents this by associating a composer, a poem from Chefitz, and a choreography with a different moment in a Jewish wedding. For instance, the section titled “Tenayim,” marks the moment when the families meet for the first time and work out the financial and logistical arrangements for the coming event. No surprise that during the back and forth tensions arise and tempers can flare.
As a musical parallel to this moment of the ritual, the program includes Prokofiev’s Overture on Hebrew Themes (opus 34), arranged for strings, clarinet and piano.The overture communicates the drama of negotiations through the counterpoint of the clarinet with the other instruments, striking a klezmer motif that exits quickly when met with the aggressive staccato passages of both the strings and piano. According to Radiushina, the mix of the instruments communicates the sensation that “something high energy and a little unpredictable is about to happen.”
During this phase, the mother-in-law traditionally passes special plates to the other side of the family. This act symbolically and materially unifies the two families.For the fifth year, Miami City Ballet’s Adriana Pierce contributes original choreographies to accompany the music for the festival finale. For Pierce, choreographing for something like The Jewish Bride has its own set of challenges.
“During ‘Tenayim’the families pass a plate between them. We didn’t want to rely on pantomime but to use movements that expressed the emotions of the event,” said Pierce. “So how do they pass a plate that is not there? The dancers stand in a line and they hand off energy – like a ripple. Each dancer’s arms make a circle and first the energy passes low in front of them and then above them. Traditionally at the end of the ritual the plate is smashed. We don’t actually smash a real plate so in the performance the dancers toss the pantomimed plate into the air and it will smash on the screen above their heads. This was a great way to fuse dance and visuals.”
In past years the finale included a featured performer, and this year’s highlights celebrated Israeli clarinetist, Moran Katz.Radiushina first worked with Katz when they both were members of Carnegie Hall’s Affiliate Ensemble and considered Katz and her clarinet a perfect pairing for the program’s pieces. In fact, Katz has arranged a traditional klezmer tune for the program, though each of the works features the clarinet prominently. For instance, clarinet drives the concluding piece by contemporary Israeli composer Boris Pigovat, whose “Yewish Wedding”features a fiery klezmer, where the clarinet screeches out notes and even mimics fits of laughter.
For Radiushina, Pigovat’s concluding piece conveys the program’s intent: “We are going to take our audience on an interesting journey that aims to remind them of how any kind of love is a coming together.”
What: The Mostly Mozart Festival Season Finale, featuring clarinetist Moran Katz
When: Sunday at 4 p.m.
Where: Adrienne Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall, 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami.
Info: Tickets $10-$30; www.arshtcenter.org or call 305 949-6722.
Sean Erwin is a writer and assistant professor of Philosophy at Barry University, with a focus on aesthetics and contemporary french philosophy.
Sean Erwin is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Barry University and received his Masters and Doctorate in Philosophy from Vanderbilt. He has presented and published on topics in political philosophy, Italian and French philosophy, and technology and performance studies. He currently serves as the senior editor of the Humanities and Technology Review.
Erwin is also a performance critic for Artburst, with performance previews and reviews appearing regularly there and in other South Florida publications. Artburst gives him the platform to critique the aesthetic principles he writes on as a professional philosopher through analysis of the concrete movements embodied by performers.
He is also an accomplished dancer and teacher in the Argentine Tango community. In 2000 he founded and served as editor of the Chicago webzine, Tango Noticias, a specialty dance periodical dedicated to examining Argentine Tango as a set of social practices rooted to the Southern cone’s history, politics, and culture.
Since his move to South Florida, he has both taught philosophy and served as a principal tango instructor for the Miami-based, Shimmy Club, a non-profit program that teaches Argentine Tango to vision-impaired teens. Through his involvement with the program, Erwin has been featured in articles and several news outlets including Univision, Telemundo, NBC News, KPFK Los Angeles, and the Miami Herald. For more information, see erwinsean.com.
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