Scenes From the Edge

Want real alternative theater? Take a walk on South Florida's wild side.

In October Juggerknot produced an evening of multimedia performances from some of playwright David Mamet's most obscure works, giving local actor Oscar Isaac a chance to direct and show off his films and New World School of the Arts student Brandon Morris to display his thespian talents. "When we showcase these people, we try to mix them with people who have been in the business for a while," Bravo notes. Juggerknot is also becoming a place for local artistic directors to scout new talent. As Brauwer explains, "I know Rafael de Acha is going to come. I know Joe Adler's going to come. Why? Because we do good stuff. They want to see who and what's new, but they don't have the time to go out and look for it. We do."

Theater on the edge is vital not only to local actors and artistic directors but to the community at large. "Juggerknot is doing pieces that are harder to define," explains Garces. "They take an unknown quantity and throw it out there. In New York there are all these small theater companies whose overhead is so small, they don't have subscribers and sponsors to worry about. They can afford to throw tomatoes against a wall and see what pattern comes up. They can afford to produce five out of nine works that suck. This is largely important to the theater community in general because it pushes the limits of actors, directors, and audiences. It keeps things fresh and alive."

In the spring Juggerknot plans to do two new plays by Garces, Landand Audio Video. Land is Lolita-esque, dealing with the relationship between a young girl of 15 and a 45-year-old man. "I've had people walk out of [Bash] saying, "I really don't want to hear about babies being murdered.' Land is similar -- a lot of people wouldn't want to pick it up. But it happens, and it's true, and it's happening all the time. I think it's a good script, and I think it should be heard," Bravo says.

Tanya Bravo (left) and Elda Brauwer leave the fluff to the mainstream theaters
Steve Satterwhite
Tanya Bravo (left) and Elda Brauwer leave the fluff to the mainstream theaters

Audio Video is about three 17-year-old boys who make a film with their video camera and when they put it in to watch it, they realize it's been swapped with one of their parents' trip to Yellowstone. And the parents are watching the boys' production downstairs. "These two pieces really contrast each other; Land is a dark, very disturbing play, and Audio Video is hilarious. I can see how a lot of producers would shy away from doing it. I'm sure a lot of people will get up and walk out," explains Bravo.

But fortunately for the fate of alternative theater, more people are walking in than out thus far. Juggerknot's challenging scripts and riveting actors underscore the potential for their setting to be an incomparable site of upheaval, excitement, and ingenuity in this part of the country. If there is one theater company in South Florida that merits the often overused adjective edgy, it's Juggerknot.

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