Micro Theater Miami surprises with the best of theater arts in 15 minutes or less. Tucked away inside a labyrinth of salas (or office spaces) spread across the first floor of the Centro Cultural Espanol (CCE), just off 15th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, Micro Theater Miami flourishes in the shadow of the big time productions going on just down the street at the Arsht Center. Divided into three distinct programs, MicroDebut (Thursdays), MicroTheater (Friday – Sunday) and Late Night Sessions (Friday – Saturday), 14 plays set in an intimate environment deal with quirky and complex issues such as phobias about the future (“Futurofobia”), the complex nature of couple-dom, sexuality and gender roles (“Papeles Cambiados”) and the fluidity of loyalty and fidelity (“El Profugo”).
The first show on my schedule, “Futurephobia,” was an absurdist psychological comedy that took place in an office. Eight audience members sat in chairs arranged diagonally across the room. Two chairs, a small table, a table lamp, a digital alarm clock, a bucket of water and a wall calendar set the mood — and the two characters entered the space from behind a curtain in the corner. The calendar is important because as the drama unfolded, we discovered that the male character, acted by Rodrigo de la Rosa, fears the future. When the conversation drifted toward the future, de la Rosa would freak out and dunk his head in the bucket of water. The female character, acted by Fabiola Zepeda, revealed that she is lonely and her dog is her only companion. She finally convinced de la Rosa to have lunch with her. He hesitated, looked at his bucket of water and decided to go with her, but not without a glass of water just in case.
Despite their mini size, these micro performances rival the quality and intensity of any full-length production. In “Papeles Cambiados” (directed by Juan Roca), a young couple, acted by Isaniel Rojas and Tamara Melian, revealed, through their performance, the complex nature of sexual and familial relationships. It turns out Isaniel’s character is gay and doesn’t want his family to find out. Melian, the female character, is tired from not receiving any satisfaction from her man. After a series of shouting matches, she pulled out a gun and forced her lover to strip, put on a sundress and a wig and satisfy her. (I also got hit with a warning shot!) It turns out switching gender roles sparked an intense explosion of passion between the two. All she has to do now is stock the house with the finest wigs and dresses, and she’s got her man.
When I entered the 15th Street entrance to the CCE for the Late Night Session, the question that popped into my head: where is everyone? Low cost, high-quality theater should be on everyone’s agenda! I saw Buika there, or maybe she was a figment of my imagination. If it wasn’t her, she should go along with the rest of Miami, because the arts and our whole community thrive when we support the artists that enrich the cultural landscape of our city. And Micro Theater Miami is worthy of our support.
FYI: Most of the shows are in Spanish. Don’t let that dissuade you from going if Spanish is not your native tongue. Even though I speak some Spanish, I found the performances so incredibly well-acted I didn’t have a problem understanding the nuances that usually fly over my head.
Micro Theater Miami runs through July 7. Microdebut, Thursdays. 8-11 p.m.; MicroTheater, Friday-Saturday, 8-11 p.m. and Sunday, 7-10 p.m.; Late Night Session, Friday-Saturday, 11 p.m.-1 a.m. Cost: $5 per play, $4 for CCEM members. Visit www.teatropordinero.com or www.ccemiami.org.