June 2008, Volume 12, Number 6

Cultural Spotlight

Theater: Breaking a Leg

The American playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) once commented: “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”

As a premier cultural beacon in South Florida – for students as well as the surrounding community – Miami Dade College has staged a wide variety of thought-provoking and entertaining theatrical productions in the last year. Here is a quick look back at some of the most memorable shows.

Kendall Campus produced one of Broadway’s most celebrated comedies, The Man Who Came to Dinner by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.

The plot centers on Sheridan Whiteside, an outlandish critic from New York City. During a national book tour, he dines with a prominent Midwestern family, but on his way out the door, slips and injures himself. Fearing a lawsuit, the family sets him up in their living room and a tumultuous six weeks of confinement and hilarity follow.

“It fits right into the classic American comedy category,” said director Barbara Lowery. “As a period piece it has enormous historical value for the students, offering a well-rounded slice of 1939 Americana.”

North Campus’ proudly presented José Rivera’s House of Ramon Iglesia. The timely drama explored the differences between today’s Latin American youth in contrast with the traditions of the previous generation. The story focuses on an emotionally expressive family dealing with a son who has grown up in America and is distancing himself from the ideals of his father who wants to move his family back to Puerto Rico.

As part of the College’s Arts and Letters Day celebration, audiences assembled in the Studio Theatre at Kendall Campus to see, Life Is a Dream, the 17th century Spanish play by famed playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and MDC alumnus Nilo Cruz translated the classic comedy for the modern stage.

Wolfson Campus presented And the World Goes ‘Round, a jazz-infused musical, and Oklahoma!, the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic.

Oklahoma! won the Pulitzer Prize and was the first professional collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein, who would go on to become the most successful musical team in Broadway history.

Prometeo Theatre presented the world premiere of La Casa de Todos by Neher Jacqueline Briceño as part of Teatro Avante and American Airlines XXII International Hispanic Theatre Festival. The play surrounds the tenants of a charming colonial rooming house as they are ensnared in a tangled web of secrets, truths and lies that drags them – and us – to an unexpected end. Briceño’s play recently won the María Teresa León Award for female dramatists.

— Katherine Adjemian

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