Itsy-Bitsy Drama

In City Shorts, it's life, death, and liberal politics in gritty 20-minute segments


Twenty-one one-act plays. Presented through June 27, Call 305-365-5400. Also July 8 to 18. Call 954-462-0222, or Visit
Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale, and City Theatre at the University of Miami Ring Theatre, Coral Gables.

This year's version of City Shorts maintains the company's signature quick, upbeat pace and breezy style, but it adds a political edge. A number of hot-button issues are touched upon: gay marriage, same-sex kissing, masturbation, and, with the program B's "A Speedy and Public Trial," a biting, Kafkaesque critique of the Bush administration's Patriot Act. There's nothing here you couldn't find on network television; the play selection limns a cultural geography that's white, upscale, gay-friendly, and left-of-center. That City's writers are individually raising such issues might be meritorious, but overall, there's something absent here, something that's missing in virtually every South Florida theater -- a willingness to honestly give voice to and examine opposing sociopolitical views. Despite the obvious standoff in this deeply divided society, most arts professionals doggedly pursue a proscriptive liberal-left vision instead offering a forum for opposing views that may challenge conventional thinking and provoke an exchange of ideas. More on this subject in a future column.

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