Friday, January 20, 2012

Arsht Center: NE 2nd Avenue (reviews)

Teo Castellanos' NE 2nd Avenue played at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts for a short run, January 18 through January 21, 2012.
Voted Best Solo Performance by Miami New Times and Edinburgh Fringe Festival Winner, NE 2nd Avenue conveys the profoundly rich and textured mix of real Miami neighborhoods.

The emotional, often humorous one-man play depicts the lives of a Puerto Rican small time drug dealer, a deprived African-American young lady, a Haitian jitney driver, a Cuban-Jewish grandfather, Rasta Man, African American adolescent trying to find his footing in life, a Cuban rafter and a gay man, who each take the audience on a memorable journey through the intense streets of Miami.
Michael John Garc├ęs directed playwright Teo Castellanos in his one-man show.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Now Castellanos has returned to his breakthrough piece for a too-short run in the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami’s Arsht Center. The venue, which didn’t exist when he created his play, seems fated to host it: After all, the west side of the building that contains the Carnival Studio Theater is on the street that gives NE 2nd Avenue its title.
Castellanos, simply switching hats, shoes, accents and his physicality, morphs into eight characters the young man meets on a journey that will take him from Wynwood to North Miami.
Castellanos, who looks the same and moves as easily as he did a decade ago, has altered and updated the show a bit, mentioning such things as Art Basel and President Obama. Certainly, life along NE Second Avenue and in the larger world has changed in myriad ways over the past 10 years. But the playwright-performer and his insightful, multicultural Miami-made play are as engaging as ever.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
Teo Castellanos’ shape-shifting depiction of eight denizens of Miami’s polyglot culture in NE 2nd Avenue is remarkable for how his body language physically defines radically different people.

But far more remarkable is his mastery of these diverse characters’ idiosyncratic sound: the vocabulary, the rhythms, the intonations and timbres – each resulting in a unique music.
This one-man show at the Arsht Center, funny and profound literally at the same time, is a sociological-anthropological field trip as if Castellanos was a hip-hop Margaret Mead. It takes us on a tour of the adjacent neighborhoods on the titular boulevard highlighted by encounters with a variety of inhabitants.
This entry in the Arsht’s campaign to produce local shows, Theater Up Close, is only here through Saturday but the shows may be sold out.
NE 2nd Avenue plays at the Arsht Center through January 21, 2012.

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