BWW Reviews: MICRO TEATRO MIAMI is a Macro Success
Inside a storage unit in downtown Miami, a Latin woman teaches "un Americano" how to dance salsa, and, more importantly, what it means to lead. This isn't some clandestine meeting or a glimpse at illegal storage-container-living -- this is Salsa, a fifteen minute short by Glenn Hutchinson, smartly directed by Ivan R. Lopez and eloquently performed by Hutchinson himself, and Evelyn Perez. Salsa is part of Miami's newest sensation -- "micro teatro" or "micro theater" -- an experiment in theater going. Running from Sept. 6 and wrapping up Oct. 5, Micro Teatro Miami is a festival of short plays produced by the Centro Cultural Español (Spanish Cultural Center) and co-funded by the Knight Foundation.
At $5 a pop, you can see as many shorts as you want in a night, each in a different storage container. A new show is a announced every 15 minutes or so, and there are fifteen shows total, all fifteen minutes in length. While you wait for the show/s you want to watch, you can mingle outside by the make-shift bar called "El Bar de las Estrellas" -- a pun on the Spanish Estrella beer served up (alongside empanadas and tortilla) and the "estrellas" or "stars" acting inside the containers throughout the night.
Limited to 15 audience members per container, the space is intimate, but surprisingly sufficient. All the world's a stage indeed; and every container a moment in time. Many of the shorts are appropriately audience interactive. The American novice learning to dance in Salsa, for instance, might even step on your toes. In another short entitled La Audicíon (The Audition), by Indira Páez, directed by Leandro Fernández, and hilariously performed by Crisol Carabal and Alberto Mateo, we have two parents -- a boozin' mommy and a meditation-happy daddy -- competitively watching their children audition for a Flamenco show. The audience is placed in the position of the children auditioning, while the parents are "on stage," cleverly reversing the audience/performer dynamic.
There is a common theme that unites all the performances -- music, or, as the program terms it: Por Mi Fa Sol. As for genre -- there are comedies, tragedies, romances, thrillers, and dramadies -- that's one of the best parts; tone varies from container to container. While some shows are stronger than others, as in all short theatre collections, I was hard pressed to find a show I didn't enjoy while watching.
Most of the shorts are in Spanish, a few are in English, and some in "Spanglish." This is definitely a very Miami endeavor, feeding off the multi-cultural fuel the city runs on. The show, in fact, originated in Spain in 2009, and migrated, along with one of its originators, Jorge Monje, to Miami in 2012, and Miami has been happy to receive it. The shows runs off and on, year round, with different actors, themes, and writers involved each time. It's worth seeing, and keeping an eye out for the next round too.
This round of Micro Teatro Miami closes Oct. 6. Plays Thursdays through Sundays. 8pm-11pm on Thursdays; 8pm-1am Fridays and Saturdays; 7pm-10pm on Sundays.
Photo Credit: Vanessa Garcia