Mosaic Changes Season, Alliance Sets Season, Andrews Arts Hosts Show, Hirschman Honored With Zink Award

Seasonal Changes

Mosaic Theatre is switching the third show of the season from a tale about the terror of nature gone berserk to one about the terror that human beings can inflict on each other.

The Plantation company has selected Death and the Maiden, Ariel Dorfman’s harrowing thriller about torture, revenge, sanity and the nature of reality, slated for March 8 – April 1 slot.

It replaces Conor McPherson’s The Birds, a stage version of Daphne du Maurier’s novelette and the basis for the Alfred Hitchcock film.

Executive Artistic Director Richard Jay Simon said, “Playwright Conor McPherson requested that we delay our premiere and we will open our next season with The Birds in September. Selfishly, I’m excited about the switch because that gives me an opportunity to direct the piece, which I absolutely love.”

The play was a triumph in 1997 in the Coconut Grove Playhouse’s tiny Encore Room, acclaimed as one of the theater’s best productions.

Death and the Maiden is a three-handed psychological waltz set in an unnamed country that is, like the author’s native Chile, emerging from a totalitarian dictatorship.

In it, Paulina, a student raped and tortured years ago, is now wed to an attorney investigating the old regime’s crimes. But when a kindly-seeming doctor visits by chance, Paulina kidnaps him and insists she “try” him for being her torturer. If he or her husband  object, she threatens to shoot him.  Has she come unhinged or is he truly the sadist? Are her actions any better than his? And if he is the monster, will her executing him set her free? Or is he innocent?

The drama will be directed by renowned local actor Avi Hoffman who helmed The Irish Curse for Mosaic last season and who directed Thrill Me for Rising Action Theatre last fall. The cast will be Stephen G. Anthony, Laura Turnbull and Oscar Cheda.

One Season Following Another

Florida Stage may have folded as the premier producer of new work in South Florida, but several companies like New Theatre continue to mount original work .

Taking it another step, Alliance Theatre Lab in Miami Lakes is taking the bold step of devoting its entire 2012 season to original plays written by two of its ensemble members.

The theater kicks off its sixth season (it works on a calendar basis) with the world premiere of Off Center of Nowhere by resident playwright David Michael Sirois from March 16-April 8. Sirois is author of last season’s acclaimed Brothers Beckett.

The plot is described as “Jackie, a 17-year-old Brooklyn high school student, has a secret to tell her parents. But in confessing her one secret, it unleashes a string of confessions that can destroy her whole family.  As the story unfolds, the characters are faced with moral conundrums that deal with abortion, racism and religion.”

“This play deals with the fragility of belief systems, and the lengths a person is willing to go to as long as honesty is the foundation,” Sirois said.

Second up is Small Membership by Mark Della Ventura, running June 1-24. The plot is described as “Meet Matt, a 26-year-old seeking attention and guidance from a group of strangers.  The show centers on male insecurity and through a series of flashbacks we see his childhood and adulthood struggles with puberty, sexual orientation, anxiety, true love, heartbreak and self-determined celibacy.”

A one-act version of Small Membership was first presented at New Theatre in July 2009 as part of “The New Ones Festival.”  Since then, it has had showings in New York and Miami. The 75-minute script has had two staged readings at GableStage and one at Mosaic Theatre last year. This marks the first full-scale production and will be directed by Sirois.

Closing the season will be roomies by Della Ventura, playing Nov. 9-Dec. 2.

The news release says, “Put five 20-somethings, who all just graduated from a four year acting conservatory, in a two bedroom apartment.  Now have one of those 20-somethings trying to write a play, documenting their lives in this apartment.”

The company also plans to stage more readings of plays-in-progress.
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The Alliance was founded in 2005 by Artistic Director Adalberto J. Acevedo. The troupe began producing full seasons in 2009, often built around an ensemble of actors and playwrights, many of whom studied together at New World School of the Arts. Ensemble members for the 2012 Season include Anne Chamberlain, Della Ventura, Howard Ferre, Aubrey Shavonn Kessler, Mcley Lafrance and Sirois.

For more information on the company or to purchase tickets visit
www.thealliancetheatrelab.com or www.ticketleap.com or call (305) 259-0418.


One Night Only

Andrews Living Arts Studio is hosting a free performance at 8 p.m. Jan. 27 of Phantasmagorical: A Dream.  The evening is a preview prior to a world premiere tour.

The company is the tiny theater in a former garage located at 23 NW Fifth St. in Fort Lauderdale which has produced such shows as Equus and Angels In America Part 1.

The show is described in a news release as “experimental theatre at its best; a bizarre journey into the collective unconscious where reality and time seem to disappear. Inspired by Dada, Surrealism and the work of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, this theatrical piece defies conventional logic. Existentialism, gender identity and dream-logic are examined in this hauntingly beautiful postmodern dreamscape, complete with live, original music and original video projections. Phantasmagorial is not for the timid and shy or those afraid to think!”

Call (954) 530-1879 for reservations and mention “chimp mail” when you call to get free tickets. Seating is limited and no one under 18 will be admitted.

Curtain Call

It’s hard to write about yourself without seeming vain (which is why we put this at the end of this column and it’s in the third person) but we have to at least acknowledge with humility and gratitude that the Mosaic Theatre has announced that Bill Hirschman and Publix Supermarkets Charities will receive the 2012 Jack Zink Spirit Awards this spring.

The awards named for the late critic for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel are given to people and organizations who “have demonstrated excellence in the areas of leadership, creativity, commitment and passion for the arts,” wrote Executive Artistic Director Richard Jay Simon.

Publix has long been a patron of the arts in South Florida and has given generously to many arts organizations, including Mosaic.

Hirschman wrote in response, “I am deeply touched and honored by this recognition, doubly so because it bears the name of my friend and mentor.”

Tickets to join the winners March 10 at Dial M for Mosaic Theatre – Gala & Auction 2012 or tribute ads may be purchased by calling Mosaic Theatre at (954) 577-8243 or online at www.mosaictheatre.com.

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