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The work and words of Nilo Cruz are back in South Florida, ever so briefly, in a trio of linked pieces at Miami-Dade County Auditorium’s On.Stage Black Box.

 

In a program running through Sunday, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Cuban-American playwright turns his focus to Afghanistan. Billed as “three inner monologues made public,” the plays are The Journey of the Shadow (2013), Melisma (world premiere) and Farhad or the Secret of Being (2012).

Irene Benitez (left) and Andrea Ferro make their professional debuts in Nilo Cruz’s ‘Farhad or the Secret of Being’ at the On.Stage Black Box at Miami-Dade County Auditorium. PEDRO PORTAL

 

Delivered in English (with simultaneous Spanish translation available), each simply staged play runs about a half hour, flowing from one into the next. Cruz directs the first two, Andy Señor Jr. the powerful final piece, which becomes a kind of mini-musical with accompaniment by Mostafa Makki (oud), Rolando Grooscors (guitar) and Miguel Hernández (percussion).

 

In The Journey of the Shadow, Andy Barbosa plays eight-year-old Marcelo Miguel, an imaginative boy whose father is a soldier serving in Afghanistan. Missing his dad, he regularly writes letters that wind up dappled with tears, shoving his stick-figure drawings into the envelope as well. But one day, his shadow leaps into the envelope and refuses to come out, embarking on a journey that becomes comical, whimsical and finally poignant.

 

As a physical actor, the Cuba-trained Barbosa has few peers in South Florida. In the course of Journey of the Shadow, he folds himself into a shape that suggests Marcelo Miguel’s shadow confined in an envelope. He delivers a bit of monologue while doing a tripod headstand, becomes a succession of other characters. He is a whirling torrent of energy, as boys so often are. Unfortunately, his words pour out at similar speed, and that delivery coupled with a sometimes heavy accent results in some of Cruz’s imaginative wordplay and imagery being lost or obscured.

 

Melisma, which means the singing of a single syllable, features Alex Alvarez as a soldier nicknamed Loló. The father of Marcelo Miguel, he is a former actor who has been wounded and separated from his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan. Bloodied, in pain, fearful, the soldier retreats into memory and imagination, pulling a wrinkled black-and-white photo of his wife Susana from his cap. He recalls their days onstage together, briefly escaping into the fantasy that they have been hired to be in a movie being filmed in Afghanistan. But as the moving Alvarez exits, cradling his jacket as if it were a baby, it’s clear that real escape is far more uncertain.

 

In terms of impact, the first two pieces are a simpler prologue to the emotionally shattering Farhad or the Secret of Being. Flowing from spoken words into song and back again, the play-with-music centers on Farhad, a teen who has spent most of her young life growing up on the outskirts of Kabul disguised as a boy. This has afforded her protection and opportunity, to study, to work processing pomegranates, to move about freely and show her face to the world.

 

But the father who protected her is now forcing her to embrace her true gender, demanding that she become the second wife to a much older man. Farhad or the Secret of Being is a personal and societal lament, a memory of joy, a cry for freedom, a look at the inner lives of women in a repressive society.

 

Young actors Andrea Ferro and Irene Benítez are making their professional debuts in the piece, Ferro as Farhad, Benítez as the embodiment of the male self she’ll soon leave behind. They sing beautifully, and under Señor’s direction with the musicians intensifying emotion, they conjure a world of possibility denied, of too-young heartbreak.

 

But of course the real conjurer, of Farhad and Journey and Melisma, is that magical stage poet, Nilo Cruz.

 

ArtburstMiami.com is a non-profit source of theater, dance, music, film and performing arts news.

 

 

Nilo Cruz is back, with new powerful monologues

By Christine Dolen

Artburstmiami.com

03/18/2016

 

SOURCE:

http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/performing-arts/article66884287.html

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Del dramaturgo y director Nilo Cruz, premio Pulitzer 2003, llega Tres monólogos interiores se hacen públicos al On.Stage Blackbox, del Miami Dade County Auditorium.

 

El viaje de la sombra, el primer relato, parte de una carta que le envía un niño estadounidense a su padre, un soldado destacado en Afganistán.

 

“Es una historia para niños y para aquellos adultos que aún se deleitan en lo que les queda de inocencia”, expresó Nilo Cruz, que confió el personaje a Andy Barbosa, y también asumió la dirección de Melisma, la segunda historia.

 

La acción transcurre entre las ruinas de una aldea en Afganistán, donde el actor Alex Álvarez encarna a un soldado norteamericano que recuerda su vida mientras espera ser rescatado.

 

“Se trata de un texto lleno de magia y misticismo que remite a los orígenes del teatro del absurdo”, explicó Cruz.

 

Farhad, el tercer monólogo, cuenta cómo una adoscelente de 15 años de las afueras de Kabul se ve obligada a hacerse pasar por varón, con tal de ser aceptada en una sociedad donde ser hombre es un privilegio. El elenco está integrado por Andrea Ferro e Irene Benítez.

“Todos los textos muestran personajes que buscan la verdad y el amor incondicional”, agregó Cruz, que desde hacia tiempo quería saldar una deuda con el tema de la guerra y su repercusión en los seres humanos.

 

Nilo confió la dirección de Farhad a Andy Señor, Jr. conocido en Broadway como director asociado del musical On Your Feet!, basado en la vida de Gloria y Emilio Estefan, entre otros trabajos.

 

“Andy tiene un conocimiento del género musical del cual yo carezco. Y en el caso de Farhad, que requiere música e vivo, pensé que él sería ideal para dirigirlo”, señaló Cruz.

 

Señor aseveró que la experiencia le ha permitido “aprender cosas nuevas de un mundo del que no se sabe mucho”, mientras enfrenta el reto “de reflejar en escena la psicología de los personajes”.

 

La puesta cuenta con la participacion de los músicos Rolando Grooscors (guitarrista) Miguel Hernández (percusión) y Mostafá Makki (laúd árabe).

 

“Las tres historias hacen referencia a Afganistán, una realidad muy poco tratada en el teatro, pese a su relevancia. Son relatos dolorosos que se embellecen gracias a la magia del teatro”, concluyó la productora Alexa Kuve, de Arca Images.

 

2901 W. Flagler St. Funciones: Jueves 17, viernes 18 y sábado 19, 8 p.m. Domingo 20, 2 p.m. En inglés con traducción simultánea al español.

 

 

‘Tres monólogos interiores se hacen públicos’, historias de amor y guerra en el Blackbox

Arturo Arias-Polo

aarias-polo@elnuevoherald.com

03/17/2016

 

SOURCE:

http://www.elnuevoherald.com/entretenimiento/revista-viernes/article66646187.html

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