By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Kyle Swenson
By David Villano
By Kyle Swenson
By John Thomason
By Michele Eve
This production marks the beginning of the first season of theater at Arting Together. Pedro Pablo Peña, artistic director of the Miami Hispanic Ballet and co-director with Tony Wagner of Arting Together, has planned a full schedule for this year. If future performances are like La Ultima Parada, audiences have something to look forward to. For now, Cuban or non-Cuban -- if you are a Spanish speaker, La Ultima Parada should be your first stop.
The Long and Shorts of It
Winter Shorts 2001: Best of the Fest! is a collection of the best scripts from the festival of one-acts that began in 1996 and is reproduced in a two-hour performance that is both lively and entertaining. City Theatre has found its niche and a strong troupe of actors to carry out the comedy.
Winter Shorts 2001: Best of the Fest!
Various authors. Directed by Gail Garrisan, Kent Lantaff, Stephanie Norman, and Marjorie O'Neill-Butler. Starring Elena Maria García, Nell Gwynn, Peter Haig, Oscar Isaac, Angie Radosh, and Tom Wahl. Through February 25 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Amaturo Theater, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-462-0222.
Rich Simone's snazzy and mobile stage design, actors who disco-dance between plays, and booty-shaking stagehands give the performance a lighthearted, devil-may-care feel -- although some pieces have serious elements. One such piece and by far one of the most impressive is the bilingual play Dos Corazones (Two Hearts), written by Richard Hellesen. Elena Maria García and Nell Gwynn give excellent portrayals of two new mothers wading through postpartum joy and depression as well as language barriers to reach out to each other. Both moving and hilarious, it is exemplary of a successful one-act -- range and depth in a matter of minutes.
Gwynn is a standout all around -- her strong stage presence is often both humorous and moving. Tom Wahl and Angie Radosh are other familiar and always enjoyable faces on stage. Oscar Isaac, the only newcomer to City Theatre, gets to show off his range, from disturbed adolescent to nerdy library assistant. Offering rapid-fire performances (11 one-acts in approximately two hours) is a task that this strong ensemble is definitely up to. But with the exception of Dos Corazones, the directors' sole purpose seems to be making the audience laugh, which they do quite well. For example, in both Coitus Hate-Us, by Hillary Rollins, and Matterhorn, by Rich Orloff, two couples express hostility to the point of hilarity, but because of the directors' reliance on comedy as the primary emotive tool, audiences never feel the hostility. No matter how heinous the insults, all are in the name of comedy, which can result in a missed opportunity. The range is implicit in the scripts. Why not explore it a little more?