Tuesday, July 20, 2010

XXV International Hispanic Theatre Festival (reviews)

The Miami Herald has been posting reviews of various plays within the festival; since we don't expect to see numerous reviews of each play within the festival, we'll be summarizing the reviews under this one banner.

Mia Leonin of the Miami Herald reviewed several plays:

Oco Teatro Laboratório 1737265 from Brazil's production of Os Sonhos de Segismundo (Los Sueños de Segismundo). 
The Arsht Center's Carnival Studio Theater provided excellent acoustics for Tiago Chaves, whose live percussion guided the play's alternately festive and dramatic tones. Diana Ramos as Clarin and Rafael Magalhaes' Segismundo stood out for their physicality and expressiveness.
...overall this literary exploration made flesh was one worth witnessing.
Uruguay's Compañia de Nidia Telles production of Gracias Por Todo (Thanks for Everything), a monologue written by Julio César Castro and performed in Spanish:
A veteran actress, Telles plays Graciela with energy and candor; however, I longed for a meatier text or direction by Carlos Aguilera that could bring out more of Graciela's individuality and quirkiness -- and Telles' abundant resources.

Spain's Abalanta Theatre Company's Flores Arrancadas a la Niebla (Flowers Plucked from the Fog), written by Arístides Vargas:
The result is a complex emotional portrait of what it means to be a refugee. Rodríguez and Sabio play their roles with admirable humor, honesty and stamina.

At 1 ½ hours without intermission, Flores felt a bit long. However, Pepe Bablé's solid direction keeps the play on track, and the metaphors, especially of the orchid as a symbol of beauty, separateness and disintegration, lends cohesiveness.
El Rey Que No Oia, Pero Escuchaba (The King Who Could Not Hear, But Listened):
At the end of a week packed with theater, Sunday's outstanding performance of El Rey Que No Oia, Pero Escuchaba (The King Who Could Not Hear, But Listened) still managed to leave its mark.
El Rey was performed in Spanish and Mexican sign language by Seña y Verbo Teatro de Sordos, a professional theater company of deaf and hearing actors from Mexico. The five-member cast's indelible facial expressions and vivid gestures were captivating. Hopefully, this is not the last Miami has seen of this excellent company.
Antonio Orlando Rodriguez covered the presentation of Amarillo by Mexico's Linea de Sombra company. His review:
...there are no characters of a traditional type. There is no dramatic progression; there are no disputes generated by conflicting forces. But there is a dramatization of another sign, well molded, which brings us close to an important social phenomenon in an attractive, revealing and extremely theatrical way.
The text, carries undisputed importance in the production, though it shares prominence with body language, illumination, music and new semantics.
Raúl Mendoza, an energetic performer with remarkable communication skills, ends up bearing the greatest responsibility for setting the production's pace and temperature.
The voice of singer Jesús Cuevas generates a provocative sound landscape, -- and the production's meticulous digital design deepens the artistic exploration of the exodus and its repercussion on the human condition.
Christine Dolen reviewed Filo al Fuego, produced by Teatro Promoteo, a local company.  Her review:
...despite the disparate abilities of its actors, Teatro Prometeo's production is like its boxers: hot, sweaty and intermittently thrilling.

Mia Leonin covered Havana-based Teatro El Público's rendition of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Las Amargas Lágrimas de Petra Von KantHer review:
(Fernando) Hechevarría's agile transformation from self-serving despot into groveling lover in a matter of seconds is impressive. What could be downright confusing in less talented hands is hilarious and heartbreaking under Díaz's sharp direction.
Performances by Alicia Hechevarría as Petra's teenage daughter, Carlos Caballero as Pierre and Mónica Guffanti as Petra's mother round out the exceptional cast.
On Friday, a rousing standing ovation of several minutes served as the final testament to the power of Teatro El Público's performance -- and its significance. The group is the first Cuban theatrical company to perform in Miami but not the last. On July 23, FUNDarte brings Cuba's Teatro Buendía to Little Havana's Manuel Artime Theater.

The 25th Annual International Hispanic Theatre Festival, presented by TeatroAvante,  runs through August 1, 2010.  

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