Juggerknot Theater Company is back again with another iteration of its popular Miami Motel Stories series. Only this time, there’s no motel.
Juggerknot’s executive artistic director, Tanya Bravo, explains that its next production will tell the story of one of Miami's most swiftly developed neighborhoods: Wynwood. Since there’s no physical building tying them down this time around, the production has been aptly named Wynwood Stories. The show will take place next month at the Wynwood Yard before the venue’s final curtain call.
“The concept is the same as our other Miami Motel Stories — we’re telling the history of the neighborhood through the decades — but this time, we’re dealing with a space rather than a building,” Bravo says.
Various parts of the community gather at the Yard, she says, adding, “The Wynwood Yard has sort of been like ground zero for the area. It’s a space where the whole community can come together, where everyone gets along, from musicians to artists to developers.”
The main purpose behind Miami Motel Stories is to go into a place that is about to transform and tell its story. The new building that will replace the Yard will be part of the conversation behind this ever-changing neighborhood, adds the executive director.
Wynwood is most famous for its galleries, restaurants, and craft breweries, but before the area became gentrified, it was a barren warehouse district. And before that, it was a Puerto Rican neighborhood.
“We often forget the history of a place, and so many have forgotten the history of Wynwood,” Bravo says. “Wynwood has been through such a drastic change in the last decade. A lot of the topics we’ll be bringing up in the show deal with the many changes it has undergone since 1917.”
As for the story line, Juggerknot’s resident playwright, Juan C. Sanchez, is once again writing the script. Although much can’t be revealed here, Bravo and Sanchez share that Wynwood Stories will touch on the tensions in the neighborhood, the direction the area is heading, and how all of these unique stories connect communities — a sort of past, present, and future approach.
“My research has led me to the many different people who have shaped the neighborhood,” Sanchez says. “And while their personal stories and testimonies do support differing points of views, they also highlight where commonalties intersect — in the way they toil and live and struggle and dream — in that place of shared experience.
“There are many clashing truths and points of views about the neighborhood,” adds the writer, “and as a playwright, I’m interested in exploring this complexity and its layers, but I’m equally interested in building community.”
When the Wynwood Yard says its final goodbye May 5, Wynwood Stories will be part of the grand sendoff. Bravo tells New Times she's a fan of Della Heiman, the Yard’s founder, since the venue's opening, so being able to be a part of its history is an honor. “We’ve been trying to find a way to work together for a long time now,” Bravo says. “It’s an exciting time, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what Della does in Doral.”
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Wynwood Stories is being produced by Miami-Dade County’s Department of Transportation and Public Works, so the two unique story lines will be separated into a pair of Miami-Dade Transit bus routes. Whereas in previous productions, guests were given specially marked motel keys, this time, guests will choose between Route 2 or Route 32.
Tickets cost $75 and are available for purchase beginning today. Each ticket includes two cocktails (one by each of the liquor sponsors, Coconut Cartel and Drake Organic Vodka) and a cafecito courtesy of La Llave. The production will run for three weeks; however, this time around, there will be more opportunities to catch the show because performances will happen five or six times a week.