When you think about Latin theater in Miami, productions tailored to your parents and abuelitos probably come to mind. Yoshvani Medina, the director ofArtspoken
, wants to change that. Medina has dared to fully invest himself in establishing a performing arts center in the middle of Little Havana, dedicated to bringing the best in Latin theater to life.
Artspoken Performing Arts Center is smack dab in the middle of 12th Avenue between Flagler Street and Calle Ocho.
The space was created to bring avant garde and lesser known works to light, as well as offer classes in acting and directing. Medina also wants kids to be exposed to artistic works that would otherwise go completely unnoticed by those of us who call Miami our home.
Check out the jump for a short interview with the man who calls himself a "beast searching for some tenderness."
New Times: What was your goal in opening ArtSpoken?
Yoshvani Medina: To make people understand that art is the first sign of what distinguishes us from the savages we used to be, and the one thing we need to unite us to the savages we are. Today's contemporary theater will be tomorrow's, and if people do not support it now, out children will end up paying for it in the future. Our mission is to offer a possible option before bad taste, violence, and the easy way out that goes around in our society like a ghost.
What separates ArtSpoken from the other Latin theaters?
Without a doubt our intention of exploring conflicts within the society we live in the most universal way. And our confessed objective of the crossover into American theater as soon as possible, without abandoning the Spanish theater. We live in the United States, so if we do not conquer the national audience, we are condemning ourselves to becoming a rare colloquialism. We need to elevate our taste instead of keeping it in the ghetto.
What can the audience expect when they go see one of your shows?
The audience can either like it or not, but what cannot be denied is that we put all our guts into the work, betting with our hearts that it's the only way to create the best possible theater that we are capable of.
What do you look for when casting actors?
An actor is like a jealous beast that will only give itself with those who understand him/her. I die with respect for my actors. That is why I have the right to ask for their hearts like I give them mine -- because I am a beast in search of tenderness.
Where would you like to see ArtSpoken five years from now?
On a world tour, spreading like a pandemic of light that will summon the good while contaminating the indolent.
Currently, ArtSpoken is showing Sinfonía en Do Mayor (Y La menor), a play about a mother and daughter fighting for the affections of the daughter's acting coach. Sinfonía is billed as a dark and perverse thriller in which the winner becomes the loser. See it Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. through October 10.
Artspoken also presents the following weekly events:
Thursdays: Tomateló Personal (Take it Personal). An evening of monologues: comedic, dramatic, satirical, and controversial. 8:30 p.m
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Fridays: Esta Noche se Improvisa (Tonight We Improvise): An evening of improvisational comedy. 10 p.m.
Saturdays: Miami go el teatro. Theater for kids. 11 a.m
Sundays: El Desalmuerzo Literario (The Literary Un-Lunch). An afternoon of spoken word, debate, music, and other performances. 1 p.m.
***All works are performed in Spanish without superscripts.