Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Random Ramblings on "Boleros"

Posted by Bruce Miller
I'm told by friends who heard the review on WCVE-FM yesterday afternoon that John Porter has written a glowing assess-ment of Boleros for the Disenchanted. This would be great. The show is getting amazing word-of-mouth, but it's a lesser known title. Every bit of positive PR helps. As of this morning, John's review is not posted on the WCVE-FM website. I'll let you know how to access a copy as soon as I can figure it out.

Two days from now, on Friday Sept 25 at 11 a.m., the cast of Boleros will assemble on our Willow Lawn stage for the first of two panel discussions: A Long Way from West Side Story - Being Latino in the USA Today. Two of our six actors are of Puerto Rican lineage, three have Mexican roots, and one is of Cuban ancestry. All are proud Latino Americans. I'll be moderating the discussion, and we'll be talking about the many gifts that their heritage has bestowed upon them. This panel discussion is one of the monthly meetings of our Bifocals Theatre Project. It is free and open to the public.

Immediately following the one hour discussion, we'll move to the lobby for a casual buffet lunch consisting of lunchmeats and cheeses, breads, lettuce and tomatoes, snack and dessert items, and beverages. A $5 free-will donation is suggested for lunch.

Jose Lorenzo, the Cuban balladeer who opens the show with his stirring rendition of the classic bolero Toda una vida, is also the artist who painted the beautiful and evocative landscapes on display in our lobby. More about Jose later.

We expanded our lobby stage by approximately 64 sq ft to create the Plaza Stage used as a performance space by the Latin Ballet during intermission of Boleros. Dance has been a central component of Hispanic and Latino theatre since its inception. In Hispanic tradition, the dancers are not confined to the stage of the theatre. The dances, always designed to reflect the themes of the play, frequently spill out into the audience and onto plaza stages constructed outside the theatres walls. Rather than invade the Willow Lawn parking lot, we’ve constructed our Plaza Stage inside. Audiences are enjoying this cultural exploration.

Simple platform plaza stages similar to ours have been growing in popularity over the last several years as the impact of Latino culture spreads nationally. You will find plaza stages in most major cities throughout the west, southwest and Florida. Perhaps the most well known plaza stages are the ones used by the Today Show for their summer music series, and the ones found at Disneyland in California and Universal in Orlando,

John Glenn, former artistic director of Barksdale, and R. L. Rowsey, former associate artistic director of TheatreVirginia, are in town to direct and music direct Souvenir, opening this Friday at Barksdale Theatre at Hanover Tavern. I was honored that both talented men were able to join us for opening night of Boleros. It was GREAT to have a few minutes to visit with these two friends, and to hear how much they enjoyed the show. For John, it was his first visit back to Barksdale since he left a dozen or so years ago.

Bernardo Cubria, the WONDERFUL Mexican American actor who plays Manuelo in Boleros and thrills audiences during two of the plays funniest scenes, is also a professional translator. It is his voice that can be heard speaking in Spanish on our pre-show announcement (along with Janine Serresseque, speaking in English). Bernardo is also creating the translation that will be used in October when we begin projecting the dialogue in Spanish super-titles onto the western wall of the theatre during selected performances.

Last tidbit—Michelle Guadalupe, the talented actress who charms as Petra, has now added a second “Whiteway” to her resume. Two summers ago, Michelle acted with the prestigious Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Connecticut. The Executive Director of the O’Neill is none other than Preston Whiteway, Phil’s super-achieving, 27/28-year-old nephew (pictured to the left). Those of you who knew Phil in his late 20s will note the strong family resemblance.

See you at the theatre!

--Bruce Miller

1 comment:

Sara Marsden said...

John Porter review is at: