For the past three years, Microtheater Miami has been a hub for artists. It’s been a meeting point for creative energies where experienced and not so experienced actors, directors, and script writers come together and showcase their works to the public.
For actors who are just beginning their careers, Microtheater offers a practical scenario in which they can start to live out their professional dreams.
The concept of Microtheater is simple: 15-minute plays performed for 15 audience members within the confines of cargo shipment containers.
The small space of the shipment containers, which are decorated on the outside by colorful graffiti done by local artists, allows the audience to become an intimate part of each performance. Without a need for elaborate production techniques, the Microtheater format breaks traditional barriers and allows for a more organic and personal experience and exchange between the spectator and the performer.
“Microtheater is like a small secret among friends. We can see these mini-plays for less than the cost of a movie theater ticket. In between plays, we can have a drink and talk to interesting people,” said Lena Gonzalez, an aspiring actress and playwright interested in the idea of one day showcasing her own play at Microtheater Miami.
“I’ve met directors, writers and even some of the performers of the plays I’ve seen,” she said. “It’s a very intimate setting and experience.”
When audience members walk into the shipping container, which in this case acts as a theater, they find themselves in an up-close-and-personal setting. They can appreciate the slightest sound, each facial expression, or any small movement made by the actors. Each detail of the setting is within the audience’s reach and there are times when actors by chance trip over or step on one of the spectators. The latter is something that lovers of theatrical arts find thrilling.
But perhaps the real beauty lies in that the opportunity to participate in Microtheater is open to all. Interested parties can send their ideas to Microtheater Miami organizers and comply with a series of requirements. The script must be unedited; the play must run between 10 and 15 minutes and must fall under the theme of the month. The proposals are then sent to Madrid — where this theater format originated — and it’s there the productions for the upcoming season are selected.
For people seeking to grow as artists, Microtheater is a fascinating challenge.
“As short as the plays may be, you’re performing six times a day and it’s fantastic because it gives you the opportunity to learn at the speed of light,” said Scheherazade Quiroga, who along with her sister Selene writes, directs and acts in the musical thriller Prét A Morté.
“If something doesn’t work we have the opportunity to adjust the script and do it all over again in 15 minutes,” she said. “We can achieve in one day what is achieved in traditional theater in at least one week.”
Many participants are students who recently entered or graduated from college. The selection process doesn’t depend on levels of experience and doesn’t take into account one’s contacts within the entertainment industry. If a proposal is accepted the playwright is given complete control of the play’s production.
“I practically have artistic license over the space,” said Director James Carrey, who produced The Café.
Carrey says that with the exception of Microtheater, the opportunity to organize a musical and present it to the public is a lot more complicated and difficult.
Adam D. Crain, an actor who performs in The Café says, “Microtheater has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. I think any other actor, young or old, has something to gain performing in Microtheater because it forces us to be in direct contact with the reality that we built within these shipping containers.”
Seven plays are showcased each night, Wednesday to Sunday. Each play costs $5 and there’s a 15-minute break within each one where the public can socialize in the patio or enjoy the refreshments in the Down Town Estrella de Galicia Lounge.
If you go
What: Microtheater Miami
Where: At Centro Cultural Español, 1490 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33132.
When: Spanish language plays are Fridays and Saturdays, 8 to 11 p.m.; Sundays 7 to 10 p.m.; English language plays are Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 to 11 p.m.
Cost: Each play is $5
For information: Call 305-448-9677 or visit microtheatermiami.com