| Theater |

One-Person Play High Dive Plunges into New Theatre

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Atop a high dive in a hotel in Greece is a woman who is terrified of heights while her son and 34 other on-lookers goad her to jump. That's the setting of High Dive, a charming one-person play that opens this Saturday night at New Theatre.

Written by award-winning playwright, Leslie Ayvazian, High Dive is a light comedy about the indelible task of overcoming one's greatest fears while finding the absurdity in them. Specifically, the story tackles one woman's fear of heights while she chronicles her misadventures of past vacations (a hurricane in Hawaii, and a cold snap in Florida, among others).

High Dive is unique because of the themes it explores, but also because it's the only one-person play that features 34 extras (stay with us here). We asked Artistic Director Ricky J. Martinez why New Theatre decided to go with such an inimitable and distinct production for their 25th anniversary.

"It fits perfectly with my underpinning theme for the season of 'overcoming adversity,' " he tells us. "It's written by an extremely talented playwright and based on her true-life natural disasters and told in such a fun, comedic way that everyone in the audience will be connected to her story. A woman on a high dive, who is turning the big five-oh in three weeks, is contemplating all the crazy circumstances she's been in before and how this one adds up," Martinez adds.

Five-time Carbonell nominated actress Barbara Sloan stars as the woman on the diving board, as she comically tells of her adventures in calamity, getting older, and overcoming fears. And -- here's where the 34 extras in a one-person play comes in -- a half hour before the performance, Sloan casts willing audience members to play hotel guests who try and prod her into taking the plunge.

"The play engages the audience by literally having some volunteers be part of the show and play some of her zany characters," Martinez says. "It's a dramedy that speaks about overcoming fears, be they age, awareness, love, humility, ethnicity, or generational compatibility."

High Dive opens at New Theatre (4120 Laguna St., Coral Gables) on Saturday and runs through February 13 with performances Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8:00 p.m and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. Tickets start at $35. Call 305-443-5909 or visit new-theatre.org

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