Hey, you guys, as they say in the table waiting trade, do you remember Zoetic Stage? Of course you do. They're the fine and talented ladies and gentlemen who brought you Michael McKeever's South Beach Babylon at the Arsht Center almost one year ago. So huzzah for that and huzzah again, because they're coming back to the Arsht with another captivating piece and it's called Captiva. And it's written by Christopher Demos-Brown (the hunky lawyer who won a Carbonell Award for his When The Sun Shone Brighter).
If you're any sort of Floridian you'll know that Captiva is an island off the West Coast that besides being upscale (God, how I hate that word) is whacked every now and then by HURRICANES! So of course Chris has put his characters on this island, in a hurricane, and safeguarded them with many bottles of wine. And to make things interesting he has, and I'm quoting PR here, “the family turned upside down when pent-up insecurities, family secrets, rivalries and frustration surface.”
Barbara Bradshaw and Bill Schwartz are parents of Todd Allen Durkin, Nick Richberg and Kati Brazda. Bill Schwartz is remarried to Amy Ione Alvaredo and Amy McKenna is married to Todd. All clear there? Well, maybe this will help, a sampling of thoughts from the director, writer and cast:
Barbara Bradshaw says of her character Emily Cestar: “Through hardship and unrequited love, she has unfortunately and unknowingly defined love as existing in a sterile environment. 'Many of our disappointments and much of our unhappiness arise from our forming false notions of things and persons.' This is unfortunate when the persons are one's own children.”
And Bill Schwartz says of his character: “In preparing to play arch conservative Tom Cestar I decided to watch a couple of hours of Fox News. After only a couple of minutes I realized that the sacrifice was too great and switched back to MSNBC.”
Nick Richberg says of middle son Luke Cestar: “Luke is distant, geographically and emotionally, from most of the clan but his frustrated attempts at peacekeeping reveal a deeply rooted love for his family – and wine.”
Amy Ione Alvarado comes in with: “Teresa Flores is a strong, beautiful Latina woman who knows what she wants in life and knows how to get it. She is a natural extrovert and has this constant need to be accepted by everyone, especially her new family. She loves life and will go to Timbuktu to get what she wants and believes she deserves.”
And the chap who wrote Captiva, Christopher Demos-Brown has this to say: “My playwriting philosophy: people both overstate and understate what theatre can do. Its audience is mostly educated, liberal leaning and well-to-do. So to think you're going to mobilize the masses and effect change in a democracy by writing a play is insane. I'm especially tired of the conceit that theatre should, or even can, educate people. That's what non-fiction is for. What theatre can do very well is provoke and challenge the people who call the shots by submitting their values and taboos to close scrutiny. So that's what I aim for. (And sometimes I try to make 'em laugh.)
And finally, the Lord God of the Set, the director Stuart Meltzer: “There are always wonderful challenges in directing a new play in its first production. It's a really neat, collaborative process that takes place between the playwright, the actors and myself to fully understand moments and figure out how these moments can best be realized. But Christopher Demos-Brown has written a work that is incredibly 'actor friendly' and thus the burden is on me to not get in the way.”
Now, don't think for a minute that all this is harrowing get-thee-hence-and-never-darken-my-doorstep-again drama, for the PR peeps call it a “hysterically funny, dark comedy.” And if that's what they say, you know it will be.
Those without whom nothing would be mounted include Sean McClelland on set, Patrick Tennent on lights, Jodi Dellaventura on properties, Kerry Shiller on costumes and Stuart Meltzer with sound. And Peter J. Yanowich, a jazz musician of note, will, well, play some jazz.
See Captiva in the Carnival Studio Theatre at The Arsht Center, November 3 - 20. The Arsht Center is located at 1300 North Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami. For more info, call 305.949.6722 or visit www.arshtcenter.org.