Tag Archives: Stuart Meltzer
The concepts of home and homeland—especially when they are no longer the same place— have become even more complicated in the 21st Century for Cuban-Americans highlighted in Hannah Benitez’ world premiere GringoLandia commissioned by Zoetic Stage, a gentle comedy woven with the struggles of a past that no longer exists.
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.
The “horror” in Zoetic Stage’s Frankenstein shares little kinship with the film monster with bolts in his neck terrorizing the countryside or even the 1818 novel of science gone wrong. But a different very contemporary terror is there all the same from the breath-taking wordless prologue of a stitched together embryo clawing out of a pod to the silent final image of two bodies crawling through Arctic waste.
Fuácata! has been tweaked by star Elena Maria Garcia and director Stuart Meltzer with references to non-binary, Uber and “draining the swamp.” But the exuberantly hilarious and moving work from 2017 already had elements echoing the subsequent rise of #MeToo, hardening of ingrained bigotry, explosion of immigration crises, renewed uproar over Cuba and other topics. This production at Actors’ Playhouse is cause for celebration.
As live arts and entertainment return in fits and starts, and our culture continues its tortoise crawl toward normal, one thing has become apparent: Face masks may be vital in impeding the spread of COVID-19, but they equally hamper the spread of comedy. The debut of Zoetic Schmoetic showed the more physical the show becomes—the more the actors’ bodies, not their voices, drive the storytelling—the better it gets.
The Finstrom Festival of New Work, a new national playwriting contest, has just opened for entries – a competition whose finalists will undergo workshops, staged readings and possibly a full production at Zoetic Stage in Miami.
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.
The 44th Carbonell Awards celebration was unique, not simply because it was online, but because of its acknowledgement of the diversity of the theater community. Honoring excellence for 2019, the awards, which have been quietly accused of not reflecting diversity, pointedly went out of its way to be inclusive in its annual celebration.
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.”