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..
Writing about “Broken Snow,” the Ben Andron thriller now getting its world premiere at the J’s Cultural Arts Theatre (JCAT) in North Miami Beach, is a proposition almost as tricky as the play itself. The intricately structured 90-minute drama is loaded with surprises, twists and turns, all revealed at precisely the right moment so that the play builds to its shattering conclusion..
As this steamy spring melts into a sweltering summer, Actors’ Playhouse is inviting theater lovers to a wedding – a big, fat Jewish-WASP wedding, otherwise known as the Broadway musical “It Shoulda Been You.” Though the show seemingly takes place in the present, the piece by book writer-lyricist Brian Hargrove and composer Barbara Anselmi is an old-fashioned, stereotype-filled throwba..
'Death & Harry Houdini' Makes Another Magical Moment at ArshtDennis Watkins knows how to make an entrance. In the House Theatre of Chicago’s “Death & Harry Houdini,” now back at the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater five years after it first wowed Miami audiences, Watkins arrives onstage with the help of theater technology unknown in Houdini’s day. Dangling upside dow..
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..
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..
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 Pr..
One could say that Bistoury’s 305 & Havana International Improv Fest, which debuts this Saturday at Miami Theater Center, has been in the works for almost 20 years. In 1999 Cuban-born cho..
The process of creating “Shade,” choreographer Augusto Soledade’s latest full-length work, has been one of remembering and reconfiguring memory to discover new ways of talking about identity ..
Gustavo Matamoros’ beard has gone gray, but his passionate promotion of listening as a way of engaging the world remains fresh.Whether bats in the Everglades, shrimp in Biscayne Bay or the normally inaudible resonances of a bronze sculpture, Matamoros records these kinds of sounds, then combines and transforms them into unique musical compositions. Acute curiosity about how we perceive the world through our ears also underlies his role as impresario.
Since arriving in Miami in 1967, Caracas-born Matamoros has initiated a range of public performance programs to showcase the adventurous work of colleagues, local and far-flung. Best known is Subtropics Festival for Experimental Music, now beginning its 24th edition.
The three-week festival offers a unique mix of conceptually based music, sound art installations and freely improvised music from these genre’s most advanced practitioners, explained Matamoros. The program also features a series of films by Charles Recher, a respected colleague and frequent collaborator who died in January.
“LISTEN,” a sound installation produced in partnership with HistoryMiami Museum exhibition designer Freddy Jouwayed, opens the festival on July 5 in ArtCenter/South Florida’s Project 924 gallery on Lincoln Road. It pays homage to the original Listening Gallery at the ArtCenter’s flagship home sold several years ago, that surreptitiously presented nine original sound art compositions by multiple composers through speakers mounted under the Center’s storefront awnings along Lincoln Road. This re-interpretation “is a chance to experience these pieces in a more contemplative environment,” Matamoros said. Jouwayed has created concentric rings of colorful translucent walls that surround a central listening chamber. His intervention filters the bright window walls of the gallery space, leaving a circular array of speakers visible, but shielded.
Nearby, in Studio #209, Colombian-born Alba Triana will unveil her sound sculpture, “Microcosmos,” which remains on view through September 3. In this new piece, combining the sensibilities of a poet and scientist, she explores the fundamental properties of sound and light waves in a mounted brass cymbal. “Here is a musical instrument,” she says, “but nobody plays the instrument.” Instead, she activates it via electronic signals. The generated vibrations, intuitively programmed as an elegant eight-minute looping composition, are audible – and simultaneously visible as a shimmering “aura” around the disc.
Hands-on (or ears-on) workshops, led by prominent scholar-experimenters in sound art, Jennie Gottschalk and Christoph Cox, will guide participants in focusing on the sound environment and then teach them practical strategies for collecting sound and creating their own pieces. Many works of sound art explore the ambiguous boundaries between private and public, interior and exterior spaces, noise and music.
The 45-seat, acoustically balanced Audiotheque space in the 924 building serves as a sound art lab and cozy presentation venue for Subtropics concerts and follow-up discussions. Live performances will include works by internationally known Olivia Block, John Driscoll, Richard Garet, Barbara Held and Matamoros himself. They range from multilayered compositions, including works by guests from Spain’s Association of Electro-acoustic Music, to extravagant improvisations by solo saxophonist Jack Wright, who will also lead a workshop.
Veteran percussionist/band leader and martial-arts aficionado, Abbey Rader, delivers a classic melding of jazz arrangements with spontaneous responses by ensemble members to the spirit of the moment.
John Driscoll’s kinetic DIY instruments combine sophisticated miniature electronics with household odds and ends. Joysticks and other devices allow the performer to whimsically tweak various programmed tones, warbling feedback and other sounds.
Olivia Block’s immersive sonic installations derive from her processing of sampled radio broadcasts, fragments of found microcassette tapes and instrumental music. She composes these elements to create sound experiences, customized to specific performance spaces, such as Audiotheque.
The Subtropics Marathon festival finale is on July 22. Primarily featuring regional artists’ short works, the predictably unruly program will run from 5:00 p.m. until around midnight and likely encompass audience participation, noise, high-tech gadgetry and virtuosic musicianship.
Spanish-born composer José Hernández Sánchez, for example, will present “Broken English,” which offers unsettling discontinuities by introducing a minimalist refrain, then interrupting that flow with classical melodies and sound effects. The composer’s skillful weaving back of “loose threads” provides coherence, even as he determinedly unravels listeners’ comfort – perhaps paralleling the “broken English” that regularly enlivens and confounds a vital aspect of our daily sound environment.
During a period when our sensibilities are relentlessly assaulted by contentious political noise, Subtropics 24 offers a welcome alternative focus for ears, minds and hearts.
ArtburstMiami.com is a non-profit source of theater, dance, music and performing arts news.
Video interviews: https://vimeo.com/223551000
Subtropics XXIV Summer Festival, July 5 through July 22; exhibitions through Sept. 3; ArtCenter/South Florida, 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach.
For a complete schedule of performances, times and locations: http://subtropics.org.
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