I’m gonna make this short and sweet.
Theatre is filled with plays and musicals that ask important questions, give voice to underrepresented experiences, and challenge us to think outside ourselves… but sometimes we just need to laugh so hard we pee a little. That’s what the college division of New World School of the Arts gives us with their season opener – a farce that keeps you on the edge of your seat as this large ensemble cast descends into self-induced madness.
Mlima’s Tale is a ghost story.
A haunting, crafted by the two-time Pulitzer winning Lynn Nottage, about the underground international ivory market as she leads us, step by step down the winding staircase that is this unsavory world.
Mlima’s Tale is a ghost story, wherein the ghost that haunts these characters is made up from the repercussions of their actions.
For the annual spooky season, Slow Burn Theatre Company is currently putting on a production of the horror comedy “Little Shop of Horrors” at the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theater, and it did not fail to deliver both hysterics and poignant social commentary. South Florida Theater Magazine was present for opening night on Saturday, October 15, only to report back that this is not a show to be missed.
“Fun Home” at the Lake Worth Playhouse, directed by Sabrina Lynn Gore and exhibited on Oct. 9 , passed the Bechdel test. The Bechdel test, created by Alison Bechdel, MacArthur “genius” grant winning cartoonist, states that a work of fiction must have two women who talk to each other about something besides a man.
TOPDOG/UNDERDOG by Suzan-Lori Parks is not an easy play…
Let me say that again – TOPDOG/UNDERDOG by Suzan-Lori Parks is not an easy play. Because of that simple fact, I’ll be blunt and honest as I promised myself I would be for every article and every review; I went in with neutral to low expectations when I went to see this currently very popular play in the year of its 20th anniversary… and I am more than happy to say that I was pleasantly, excitedly surprised.
Written By Christine Dolen
Originally published on artburstmiami.com
The 20th-anniversary production of “Topdog/Underdog” begins previews on Broadway Sept. 27, with an opening set for Oct. 20. TV and movie actors – Corey Hawkins and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – will play brothers Lincoln and Booth in the revival directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon.
Still, you don’t need to travel nearly that far to see a production of the searing, Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Suzan-Lori Parks.
“Comedy is a language I love and one that seemed right for this iconic fairytale.” – Allison Gregory
As the kick-off to the 2022-2023 Theatre Lab season, the playwright Allison Gregory couldn’t be more dead on. When you think of the story of Red Riding Hood, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t typically a comedic whirlwind for all ages – but in this case, it was.
The 2022-2023 season came to a rather electric start—and my current tenure as a regular reviewer in residence for South Florida Theatre Magazine to a rather electric end—with Empire Stage’s production of Bent, a 1979 Martin Sherman play that earned a lasting place in the canon with its premiere but is seldom produced given its inflammatory subject matter: the treatment of homosexual men during the Third Reich.
A fascinating season for Miami’s Gablestage comes to a close with their current production of Fade by Tanya Saracho, an intriguing exploration of the relationship between two Latinx employees at a Los Angeles television studio. The first of these we meet is Lucia, an earnest newly-hired writer who was born and raised by a relatively well-off family in Mexico and is new to the TV industry after making a name for herself with a first novel. Through her, we meet Abel (pronounced Ah-bell not “able”), a guarded but compassionate American-born janitor of Mexican descent hailing from hard-knock neighborhood El Sereno.
Though the two initially seem able to develop a camaraderie and even a friendship thanks to the shared frame of reference their shared ethnicity allows, as the play goes on—and as Lucia slowly outgrows her initial nerves and disdain for her job and begins instead to ascend the corporate ladder with gusto—these class differences grow from a palpable but surmountable obstacle to the source of an irrevocable reckoning.
Actors Alexandra Acosta and Alex Alvarez, who are probably the production’s greatest asset, do much to make this unlikely connection both credible and compelling. Acosta’s portrayal of the high-strung Lucia effectively balances the two opposing sides of the character, with both her surface congeniality and self-doubt and her deeper shrewdness and hunger for recognition coming across as completely believable. Meanwhile, Alvarez is a pitch-perfect straight man to Acosta’s more neurotic woman, and goes on to reveal his aptitude for conveying greater emotional depths when the plot finally delves into his character’s backstory.
Since the technical elements of the play also seem to be in ship-shape, with costume designer Camilla Haith worth a special mention for Lucia’s array of appealing outfits, there is only really the script itself to blame for the production’s somewhat underwhelming nature. Not to say that it isn’t an enjoyable ride nonetheless—especially at only an hour and forty five minutes, there’s enough humor and suspense to smooth over the play’s deeper structural flaws. Director Teo Castellanos also well manages the ever-shifting dynamics between the characters while building in enough playful blocking to help keep the audience engaged.
Reportedly, Fade is based on playwright Tanya Saracho’s real life experiences as, at one point, the only Latina writer on a show about four Latina maids. This gives the play an aura of authenticity that fuels many a satirical joke at the nonsensical world of television’s expense, moments that serve as some of the play’s brighter spots. One also never doubts the plausibility of the humiliating and racially charged incidents Lucia recounts of being ignored while her less qualified white colleagues are asked to weigh in, being singled out to translate for her boss’s maid because of her ethnicity, or being plainly called a “diversity hire” by a mean-spirited co-worker.
Tanya Saracho Headshot. [Photo Credit: Jackson Davis]