Anyone who thinks South Florida theater is a staid traditional art form aimed solely at senior citizens will have their expectations exploded and their definitions rewritten next week with the cutting edge series of free youth-oriented programs in the fifth Miami Made Festival.
Staged readings of plays in development will share time slots with experimental theater projects and dance recitals from Feb. 26-March 3, funded and presented by the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the new Riviera South Beach Hotel, patrons Alan Lieberman and Nathan Lieberman, and the Funding Arts Network. Tickets are free, but in all but one case, they must be picked up the day of the performance.
The artists connected to the programs are well-known Miami-based actors, directors and playwrights who have worked at one time or another with the Arsht staff in other projects.
A full schedule is available at arshtcenter.org, but among the offerings:
Feb. 26 & 27 at 9 p.m. – Extended Stay by The Project [Theatre] at the Riviera South Beach Hotel, 2000 Liberty Avenue, Miami Beach. No reservations required.
The Project [Theatre] is a group of current and former Miami residents, many of them former classmates at New World School of the Arts simultaneously pursuing a career outside of Florida and in Miami. As with their earlier projects, the troupe erases the lines of traditional plays in what they call “immersive theater” and “pop-up presentations.” The audience circulates around the hotel with skits and improvisations seemingly occurring at random. The theme this year is Reality TV. The premise is that the hotel is the setting of a hot reality show called Extended Stay. The guests have been invited to attend a party for the grand re-opening of the hotel while an episode is being shot.
Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. — Fear Up Harsh – Carnival Studio Theater, Adrienne Arsht Center.
The drama by Zoetic Stage co-founder Christopher Demos-Brown will be directed by Zoetic’s Stuart Meltzer and feature actors Todd Allen Durkin, Steve Anthony and Arielle Hoffman. The play focuses on the process by which the Congressional Medal of Honor is given and, more broadly, how the entire concept of awards and commendations skews our understanding of reality. “Fear Up Harsh is a term used by the military to designate “enhanced interrogation” techniques legally sanctioned in the war on terror post-9/11.
March 1 at 7:30 p.m. — Dinner Parties (Ironic And Themed) — Carnival Studio Theater
This play by Meltzer examines three contemporary couples attempting to maintain personal dignity in party situations. The play is a mix of comedy and drama and explores the endless pressures of marriage, faithfulness and happiness. Directed by Margaret A. Ledford, the cast includes Nicholas Richberg, Amy McKenna, Chaz Mena, Gregg Weiner and Lindsey Forgey.
March 3 at 4 p.m. Two-Merz — Carnival Studio Theater
Playwrights David Michael Sirois (Brothers Beckett), Mark Della Ventura (Small Membership) and Gabriel Hammad have written a new script about brothers with cancer. After the recent death of their father to cancer, the Merz brothers think it’s a good idea to get checked out, just in case. They learn that both have terminal cancer. The play examines how their family and loved ones deal with this bizarre and tragic news.
Miami Made began in 2005 with the Arsht management and others encouraging local performing artists by commissioning developing works.