Tag Archives: Karen Stephens
If Dickens’ opening line in A Tale of Two Cities has become a trite cliché through overuse it has become a painfully accurate truism about theater over the past two years, especially South Florida theater. Crippling loss and inspiring resurrection. Surrender and perseverance. And , now, the Covid threat has reasserted. But looking back on those two years delivers a testament worth celebrating and learning from.
A look back at 2020: Yes, South Florida theater was crippled by the pandemic. But its acolytes remained driven to express their artistry, and patrons remained ravenous for their work. They continued to explore projects, create avenues and seek paychecks with efforts ranged from filmed full-fledged productions to monologues newly penned in bedrooms.
With exploratory baby steps, South Florida theater companies are staging events: A cut-down Hamlet by the Shakespeare Troupe, a filmed full production of Closer Than Ever by MNM, and Patti LuPone in a livestreamed concert for the Broward Center.
Asked to spotlight specific problems and potential solutions, everybody had a story of racism infecting the South Florida theater community. Some cited unintentional micro-aggressions in pressure-laden rehearsals. Others underscored systemic failings whose reform will require leaders, supporters and audiences to revaluate everything from what goes on stage to who decides what goes on stage.
In-depth report: Sets still standing on stages are silent pledges that these productions and theater itself in South Florida will resume – albeit in what many believe will be a different world. But what that cultural world will look like for audiences and artists could not be more uncertain, say theater professionals who have had to rethink and rethink again their plans. It’s different from when other disasters have struck Florida like hurricanes; this one may be open-ended.
Thinking Cap Theatre’s stunning production of Beckett’s Happy Days, offers an unmitigated triumph of a performance by Karen Stephens expertly molded by Nicole Stodard, but to say this absurdist bleak work is not for everyone is a gross understatement. Some will downright hate it. Others will be transfixed. Few will escape without considering whether how we use the time of our lives is meaningless.
American Son at Zoetic Stage doesn’t offer solutions to the complexity of race so much as explore with increasing intensity the exact craggy contours of the gulf. Christopher Demos-Brown’s play brings the audience alongside those struggling with the conflicting and seemingly irreconcilable pressures on not just African-Americans but everyone awash in the social maelstrom.
When Christopher Demos-Brown’s racially charged drama American Son — which has played in other cities and bowed on Broadway — finally opens this week at Zoetic Stage in Miami, it will be, as director Stuart Meltzer says, “a homecoming.”
In this post-9/11 time, we ruminate even more than during the Black Plague about the seeming randomness of blind fate or God’s inscrutable will — and wondering is there a meaning to life. Those questions permeate a highly theatrical stage version of Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey — much of it re-told in rhyming verse — in an intriguing Miami New Drama production written by, directed and starring off-Broadway fixture David Greenspan.
Few plays have been as ruthlessly photographic depicting the pornographic incest of lobbying and corruption as well as the clash of idealism and pragmatism as Sarah Burgess’ Kings, currently on the dissection tray at GableStage.