Swedish Passion Under a Cuban Sun

Miss Julie and The Stronger

While recognition of ourselves on stage is as good a reason as any to go to the theater, I'm not entirely convinced that setting Miss Julie in last century's Latin clothes is a way to make the story particularly urgent. The Latin America we see on the New Theatre stage is as remote to the one we know today as Strindberg's Sweden of the last century is to us. Nonetheless the production is a powerful one, with heroic performances from actors who spend the better part of two hours diving into psychological horror.

On the opening weekend, neither Iris Delgado, who plays Julia, nor Israel Garcia, as Juan, had found many ways to make the respective character his or her own. Not that many actors ever have. These roles demand stylization woven with naturalism, something that's almost impossible to pull off. Both Delgado and Garcia are appealing and intelligent young performers, however, and here's hoping they come to grip the audience nearly as tightly as the playwright does.

Cuban heat melts Swedish hearts
Cuban heat melts Swedish hearts

Details

Through September 5. New Theatre, 65 Almeria Ave., Coral Gables, 305-443-5909.
Written by August Strindberg.
Directed by Rafael de Acha.
Starring Iris Delgado, Marta Velasco, Israel Garcia, Robert Maxwell, and Lucia McArthur.

Actress Delgado also gets a chance to shine in the curtain raiser, an obscure 20-minute sketch, also by Strindberg. Titled The Stronger, it's a comedy about Miss X and Miss Y (Delgado and Marta Velasco, also playing servant Cristina in Miss Julie) who meet in a café. Both have been involved with the same man, now the husband of Miss X. A self-absorbed harridan, she interrupts the quiet meal of Miss Y, rambling on and barely noticing that her companion never replies. As the silent party, Delgado is a model of restraint and economy. As the chatterbox, Velasco gives an effective voice to Strindberg's comic side.

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