Fringe Review: NE 2nd Avenue
Teo Castellanos' award-winning solo-characterizations capture the diversity of urban America
Let me explain why. It's not that I'm in any way related to Teo Castellanos, never even met the man. No, it's that upon seeing his solo-characterizations based on Miami's inner city neighborhoods, I became completely, overwhelmingly homesick.
Those of you who come from the rich, raw, mixed and often maddening diversity of the US will know what I mean. I haven't seen such a range of ethnicities, styles, accents and cultures since I quit teaching high school in Oakland, California. Nor did I realize just how much I missed it until I saw NE 2nd Avenue last night.
Through a skillful blend of music, minimal costume changes (hats and shoes), and extraordinary insight and perceptiveness, Castellanos is able to bring to life a miscellany of characters taken straight from the streets of Miami and indeed almost any major city on the coasts.
I recognized two of my old students in his portrayals, one a proud, young black woman, knowing herself to be a queen but not yet knowing how to fulfill her own prophetic dreams. The other was a young man selling weed on the streets, a complex and contradictory mix of compassion and cruelty.
The other characters I knew from neighborhoods and community centers, my local bus stop and my friends. Castellanos' talent lies in his ability to depict both a universal type of person (perhaps even a stereotype in some cases), while imbuing his characters with an individuality and emotionality uniquely their own. Thus, we as an audience recognize the other and ourselves in his portrayals.
My only criticism of the piece is a certain lack of cohesion between the parts. Although there was the motif of a tourist, it felt forced in places and detracted rather then added to the effectiveness of Castellanos' story-telling style. I wanted to see more inter-connection between the characters and perhaps even the presence of the playwright himself. There were occasional dips in energy and understanding, yet for the most part, it held our attention through and through.
I highly recommend this winner of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and can only urge those of you who miss the layers, the ironies, the humor and the beauty of living in a diverse setting, to go and remind yourselves of it! And for those who have never experienced this, go and discover it…
NE 2nd Avenue is playing every day at 10pm at A Studio Rubín until Sunday, June 6th.
For more information see the Fringe Festival Praha website.
- Share your opinion on this article in the PTV Discussion Forum
Video on YouTube
Opera review: Carl Off's Die Kluge and Der Mond by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Two fairytale operas are staged with a sense of fun for a wide audience
Last Year in Marienbad - A Film as Art by Olivia Marcus - Anglo American University (Foto: Gallery Anita Beckers, Frankfurt)
@ Galerie Rudolfinum till November 27, 2016
PRAHAha comedy festival starts soon by PRAHAha Int. Comedy Festival - Prague.TV
An international festival features more than 50 stand-up comedy acts
Two operas by Orff premiering at the National Theatre by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
The works are based in Brothers Grimm stories and have a wide appeal
Czech Press Photo opens a new gallery by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: czechpressphoto.cz)
The Czech Photo Centre will create a new space for artworks
Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale to play two shows only by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Prague Shakespeare Company will bring Bohemia's coast to the Estate's Theatre
Chuck Palahniuk coming to Prague Writers' Festival by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Fight Club author headlines the list of this year's novelists and poets
Švandovo divadlo celebrates 135th anniversary by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
The city's third-oldest theater has had many names over the years
Signal Festival 2016 will light up Prague by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
The festival of light art is the biggest cultural event in the country
State Opera productions are now at Karlín by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Narodni Divadlo)
A long-planned renovation has pushed the program to a new home
27 taps with excellent craft beers and ciders in the center...
Looking for a memorable experience in Prague?
Stag Parties & Fun Events in Prague
Prague Airport Transport: Private, Shuttle & Limo-service!
Trabant Museum @ STK Motol
Armádní muzeum Žižkov
Národní památník hrdinů heydrichiády
Goout.cz Tickets for Cultural Events in Prague