This week in theater: Tap Dogs and the International Hispanic Theatre Festival
By Dein Perry. Through July 10. Ziff Ballet Opera House, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org.
The whirlwind tour of Tap Dogs blows through the Arsht Center this week with a dizzying celebration of blue-collar labor. Created and choreographed by Dein Perry, a former industrial machinist from Newcastle, the show evokes scenes from the small Australian steel town north of Sydney where the dancers grew up. An instant hit in Sydney, Tap Dogs has been hailed an electrifying mash of dance, rock concert, and construction site. Dressed in metal-plated work boots, faded jeans, and flannel shirts, the nine dancers use iron rods and basketballs to tap on metal, on water, up and down ladders, upside down on the ceiling, by torchlight, and under a shower of sparks. They tap solo and in unison, and go at it in foot-to-foot combat, dancing a racket across a machine-like stage with moving parts that is dismantled as the frenzied tapping builds and the deconstructed set is drenched. If you score a front-row seat, don't worry — previous shows have provided raincoats.
International Hispanic Theatre Festival
Through August 1. Carnival Studio Theater at the Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org. Prometeo Theatre on the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-237-3262; prometeotheatre.comteatroavante.com.
The International Hispanic Theatre Festival kicked off its 25th anniversary July 7 with a production of the Mexican play Amarillo, which will run Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 8:30 p.m. at the Carnival Studio Theater at the Arsht Center. An impressionistic glimpse of the Texas border town, the play uses an incessant soundtrack and projections to explore the concept of national identity and the connection between the real and the virtual.
The festival also explores the world south of the border via Más Pequeños que el Guggenheim (Smaller Than the Guggenheim) Thursday and Friday at 8:30 p.m. at Prometeo Theatre on the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus. The play uses minimalism — the characters exist, or rather subsist, onstage, enduring as best they can — to explore the universal themes of friendship and failure. Like Amarillo, the play is in Spanish.
The festival, which runs through August 1, continues Friday and Saturday with Filo al Fuego, a riveting portrayal of the world of professional boxing in 1960s Miami. The Spanish-language play with English supertitles will be staged by Prometeo Theatre, which organizes the annual festival, considered the largest in the United States.
The fest also harks back to classic Spanish theater this Saturday and Sunday with a production of Divinas Palabras, Ramón del Valle-Inclán's sordid, magical tale of a monstrous carnival midget exploited by his mother, who drags him from the fair to beg on the streets. Staged by a theater troupe from Andalusia, the play is in Spanish.
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