February 2009, Volume 13, Number 2

Cultural Spotlight

From Yo me llamo Virgilio Piñera

Campus theater delighted Miami audiences

The fall theater calendar at Miami Dade College delighted audiences with a series of entertaining plays and musicals.

In October, the music, theater and dance department at MDC’s Kendall Campus presented September Tenth, written and directed by Arturo Fernández, a founding member of the local troupe Ground Up & Rising. The play centers on a group of strangers who meet in New York City.

And in December, they presented Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, a comedy about a writer who gets a lot more than he bargains for when he arranges to have a local psychic entertain his dinner guests with powers of the occult.

In November and December, students in Prometeo’s Professional Actor-Training program presented two Spanish-language productions: Pic-Nic by Fernando Arrabal and Yo me llamo Virgilio Piñera.

Pic-Nic, one of Arrabal’s best-known Absurdist pieces, is about a soldier who receives a visit from his parents while in the trenches. They have a Sunday family picnic – in spite of the scene of war that surrounds them – but cruel reality disrupts the reverie.

Yo me llamo Virgilio Piñera is a series of monologues punctuated by the black humor and satire that characterizes the work of Piñera, a member of the famed Cuban literary group, Orígenes.

The department of arts and philosophy at Wolfson Campus featured a musical tribute to Steven Sondheim, Side by Side by Sondheim, in December. The production included selections from famous Broadway musicals like Company, Gypsy and West Side Story.

“Side by Side gave students the opportunity to change characters – and explore different personalities – within the same show,” said music professor Dr. Alan Ngim, the Side by Side conductor and pianist.

In October, North Campus’ music, theater and dance department presented the Miami premiere of Our Lady of the Tortilla by Luis Santeiro (creator of Qué Pasa, U.S.A.?). The play tells of a Cuban-American family threatening to burst at the seams. When the old aunt sees the face of the Virgin in a tortilla, their Hialeah home turns into a suburban Lourdes.

The coming months promise to bring another set of exciting new theatrical productions to College stages.

— Katherine Joss

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