MTC: Comical Pause on Life’s Purpose

Written By ArtBurst Team
November 17, 2015 at 6:42 PM

In a recent preview of Theo Reyna’s play Knowledge & Noise, the main protagonist, Gina, is faced with a barrage of questions on life. “What is it that you plan on doing with the rest of your life?” bark two drill sergeant-esque characters hounding her for answers. Before Gina can muster up a response, a chair is slammed to the floor by one of the towering, stern-faced figures. They are not the thought police, so they say. Yet, when Gina comes up short on life’s purpose, they order her into exile from society. The humorous take on determining one’s purpose resonated with the captive audience that came to see the 20-minute skit, shown on Oct. 12. It was part of the Design District’s inaugural Art & Design Night Performance Series. The full play opened at the Miami Theatre Center (MTC) in Miami Shores and kicks off the Center’s 2013-2014 Sandbox Series, with performances this Friday and Saturday. Noise follows Gina through exile and a reunification with her estranged brother, who has taken a dramatically different road in life. Consisting of wood and cloth, the set resembles a caravan, similar to old times when traveling theaters would roll into town, says Reyna. With a smile, he says he is aware that with Noise, he’s created something relative to everyone. “Who doesn’t think about life’s purpose?” The interrogation portion that opened the preview and introduces the concept is somewhat prolonged, at least for a 20-minute production, but in the long run the attention given to this portion of the piece helps develop and convey the plot, or rather the personal complexities we have with figuring out life’s purpose. Reyna, a graduate of the New World School of the Arts, who went on to study at Southern Methodist University and in London before returning to Miami, has several writing and acting credits under his name, including the role of Andrei in MTC’s inaugural production of Anton Chekhov’s The Three Sisters. Reyna described Noise as a modern comical myth that strips down the notion of life’s purpose and allows the audience to “imagine together.” The Sandbox Series is funded by a $100,000 challenge grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and has become a local incubator for artist development. Sandbox productions take place in the center’s 50-seat Black Box Studio, located adjacent to the Main Stage. Now in its second season, Sandbox offers innovative performers, such as Reyna, a six-week residency in which to develop, rehearse, and perform a new work as well as teach a series of classes for the community. Noise should be a crowd pleaser and is followed by four eclectic shows. From Dec. 13 to 22, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko will present Black Male Revisted. Using visual installations, the show compels audiences to reconsider their impressions of the black male body in performance and visual art. Kosoko, a Nigerian-American curator, producer, poet, choreographer, and performance artist, is based in Brooklyn. From Feb. 14 to March 1, Signals, an interactive sound installation and multimedia performance by Slovakian-born Juraj Kojs, will take audiences on a journey through various sonic and tactile experiences. From March 28 to April 12, Juan C. Sanchez will present his new play, Paradise Motel, which features seven scenes spanning seven decades in a seedy motel on Calle Ocho. From June 13 to 28, Barcelona-born Carlota Pradera, who is a Miami-based performer and choreographer, will wrap up the series with an experimental movement-based performance titled Bare Bones. Certain to be intriguing, Pradera describes the work as “employing unfamiliar language, confusing scenarios, and absurd chaos to analyze power dynamics among individuals and cultures.” Knowledge & Noise kicks off the Sandbox Series; Nov. 15 and 16 at 8:00 p.m.; Miami Theatre Center, 9806 N.E. 2nd Ave., Miami Shores. Tickets cost $20; 305- 751-9550. Photo: Burak Angunes

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