Zoetic’s “Betrayal” & “Stripped” Named Amongst “Top Ten Best Shows in Miami,” Miami New Times

by John Thomason
(All Photos by Justin Namon)
[Regarding Zoetic’s Stripped]  “For many American actors, it would be difficult enough to recite a lengthy soliloquy in a convincing Russian accent. But doing so while wearing sky-high heels and almost nothing else while performing acrobatics on an unsteady stripper pole mounted in the center of the stage? That’s a feat of physical, mental, and emotional dexterity that, placed anywhere else in a year-in-review column, would be burying the lede.
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As Masha, an exotic dancer desperate to maintain guardianship over her baby in a court system stacked against her, Lindsey Corey put on a performance that still echoes with a cerebral fire all of these weeks later. It came in Chris Demos-Brown’s Stripped, at Zoetic Stage with choreography by Barbie Lazaro of Miami’s Vixen Academy. Corey worked the pole like a seasoned professional, stimulating our minds as well as, you know, other places. She made that old chestnut about Ginger Rogers — that she had to do everything Fred Astaire did, only backward and in high heels — seem quaint.

[Regarding Zoetic’s Betrayal]  “Zoetic’s spartan reimagining of Harold Pinter’s reverse-chronology classic Betrayal tops the list. The play was jazzy and judgmental when it needed to be and favored the appearance of an existential void over a sense of a physical place. Stuart Meltzer found profundity in the spaces between Pinter’s acidic words, drawing a career-best performance from Chaz Mena.”Betrayal.Justn Namon

Miami’s Top Ten Stage Shows of 2015

1. Betrayal, Zoetic Stage

2. Constellations, GableStage

3. Summer Shorts, City Theatre

4. Stripped, Zoetic Stage

5. Ragtime, Actors’ Playhouse

6. Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune, Alliance Theatre

7. New Jerusalem, GableStage

8. Leveling Up!, New Theatre

9. The Toxic Avenger, Actors’ Playhouse

10. Disgraced, GableStage

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Named Best Supporting Actor in 2015 by New Times’ Best of Edition

Henry David Thoreau, the original hipster, famously wrote that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Occasionally, a performance will so accurately convey that axiom that it’s almost uncomfortable to witness. Chaz Mena accomplished this feat in Zoetic Stage’s Detroit at the Arsht Center. He found the quiet desperation in Ben, an unemployed husband of Anytown suburbia who was perennially building a financial website that never materialized, watching NASCAR programs on max volume in a zombified stupor, and staring a few beats too long at his younger, blonder, always underdressed new neighbor. No matter what the script dictated for Mena, from cooking real meat onstage to nearly breaking his leg on his neighbors’ unfinished porch, he never lost that hard-wired sense of existential malaise that we call the midlife crisis. And when he unveiled a game-changing secret in the play’s discomfiting, climactic bacchanal, the result was both hilarious and heartbreaking. Detroit may have been an equal-opportunity ensemble piece, but Mena took the reins and stole the show.

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Thursday, November 5 – Sunday, November 22, CARNIVAL STUDIO THEATER, 

ADRIENNE ARSHT PERFORMANCE ARTS CENTER

Stripped

A Terrific Cast, A Superb Director, A Committed Playwright…All adds up to an unqualified success. Thanks to Zoetic Stage, South Florida is a place for solidly crafted world premieres.

Click on the the links below to read reviews and reactions to Chris Demos-Brown’s “Stripped.”

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