Hidden in a small lot between two tall buildings is a gateway to the arts like you would never imagine.
Underneath a string of bulb lights are seven steel shipping containers covered with the faces of well-known artists. Humphrey Bogart, Charlie Chaplin, and Salvador Dali all sit looking picturesque and inviting.
This, ladies and gents, is Microtheater Miami.
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The concept of Microtheater originated in Spain and was brought over to Miami a few years ago. Up until recently, it only featured Spanish language shows. The idea is simple: seven shipping containers equal seven mini, intimate stages and seven short plays going on simultaneously.
Though this version of a theater sits partially outdoors (guests sit inside the containers but the waiting game takes place out in the open), evenings can be susceptible to Miami's bipolar weather disorder. One rainy night, such as the evening Cultist visited, guests trickled in much later than expected. Since Miamians are used to the weather, a little rain won't stop us from getting our culture fix.
Using original works submitted by local playwrights, organizers at Microtheater select seven shows to be performed for a mini-five week season. Part of the September season were shows Plenty of Shrimp, What If's Revealed, A Song A Day Keeps the Doctor Away, Good Luck Gina, Cracked Eggs, Love at First Tinder, and The Unfortunates, all which wrap up this week.
We sat down with the two-person cast of Plenty of Shrimp, Jennifer Zabalo and Andres Maldonado, to talk all things Microtheater, online dating, and split personalities.
New Times: Can you tell us a little bit more about what exactly is Microtheater Miami?
Jennifer Zabalo: Microtheater Miami started actually in Spain and they brought it down here to Miami three to four years ago. We're really well known in the Spanish industry, and what it is is 30 minutes of a play -- all original work. They started off in Spanish and now they're expanding into English, which is where we come into play. It's seven different plays, with different genres. And it's our first season here with Microtheater, so we're learning what it's like to do six shows a night -- back to back, 30 minutes each -- so it's been a great experience.
That sounds pretty grueling doing six shows a night! You're here from 8 until 11 p.m. Isn't that just a little bit more demanding than Broadway?
Zabalo: I guess we're getting a taste of that. Both of us have day jobs, so coming after your day job to do this is a real treat. It's great because you get to see the nights when you weren't really feeling it; because we're so close to the audience and it's so intimate, I feel as if it's a lot more demanding. As actors, we really have to 'bring it', and you really want to make it good every show, every performance.
Andres Maldonado: It's a treat because I feel like every show can have its own personality depending on the audience you have and how they play with you -- what they give you -- is also really, really fun. Aside from the length of the play being so short, up to 30 minutes, we also have a maximum of 15 to 17 people in the audience, so it's intimate in many ways.