at The Roxy Performing Arts Center, 1645 SW 107 Avenue
Miami, FL 33165
Performing at New Theatre (Mar 23 - Apr 8)
Runtime: 2 Hours
New Theatre has invested in one of its own, commissioning playwright Juan C. Sanchez (whose pay-the-bills “day” job is running the theater’s box office) to write a play for the company. The result is Property Line, a wild in-your-face dramatic comedy (or comedic drama, take your pick) that has just opened at Miami’s Roxy Performing Arts Center, with a move to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center for a weekend in mid-April.
Miamian Sanchez wrote a trio of full-length plays ( Buck Fever, Red Tide, A Bearded Lover) as resident playwright for Davie’s Promethean Theatre, which shuts down as of Monday. He also co-wrote Beer Samplers, a hit for The Project [Theatre] during the recent Miami Made festival at the Arsht Center, and he has written a number of short plays.
Stylistically, Sanchez’s sensibility is dark and edgy, mixed with humor that flows from his characters’ quirks. Those qualities are all evident in Property Line, a play about a changing Miami, the threat of violence, prejudice that is both subtle and overt, and the fragility of seemingly solid relationships, to name just a few of the many subjects Sanchez tackles.
Staged by New Theatre artistic director Ricky J. Martinez, Property Line starts off promisingly. Charlie (Bill Schwartz), a Baby Boomer whose hippie days live on in his head and his enjoyment of smoking weed, jauntily greets his neighbor on his way home from a bicycle ride. The widowed Blanca (Evelyn Perez) responds furiously, calling Charlie a vile name in Spanish and flipping him the double bird. What gives?
Then Sanchez sets up the affectionate, sexy yet sometimes prickly relationship of Charlie and his wife Mag (Barbara Sloan). He’s a travel writer with an unsurprising wanderlust; she’s a homebody and self-professed liberal whose prejudices don’t stay hidden for long.
Turns out Blanca’s hostility stems from a property survey. Her late hubby Guillermo, who died in a gruesome manner (pure Sanchez), discovered that the couple’s property extends 15 feet into Charlie and Mag’s yard. Blanca wants that turf, which includes an improperly placed fence and Mag’s garden. The battle, which soon involves real estate attorney Joe (Scott Douglas Wilson) and Blanca’s angry teen son Danny (Javier “Javi” Cabrera), rages through the rest of the play.
Martinez has cast Property Line well, particularly in the case of Sloan and Schwartz. With a clear chemistry, the two become fully realized if flawed people. That Sloan makes Mag (rhymes with “nag”) interesting is especially impressive, as the woman has rampant ethnic biases and a truly filthy mouth. The latter is a trait most of the characters share to an extent that isn’t credible. That’s the playwright talking, not his creations.
The opening night audience at Property Line laughed plenty, the laughs flowing from well-crafted funny bits, absurd situations and squirm-inducing moments. Like most new plays, this one would benefit from trims, the shedding of fleeting issues that complicate the plot, and a rewrite that might, in part, offer more justification of Blanca’s flip from friendliness to fury.
New Theatre (THE NEW) continues its 2011-2012 season with the commissioned World Premiere of Property Line, by Carbonell nominated playwright Juan C. Sanchez, running March 23 - April 8, 2012. Set in Miami, Property Line is about what happens when a “white, American” couple discovers that their next-door neighbor and friend, a Cuban housewife living with depression after a horrific tragedy, has legal claim to a portion of their fenced yard. Through the guise of a property line dispute, the play explores the feeling of displacement of “white America” caused by the ever-growing Hispanic/Latino population in the United States. Juan C. Sanchez studied theater at New World School of the Arts and Florida State University. Recent projects include a collaboration with The Project [theater] entitled Beer Samplers and participation in The South Florida One-Minute Play Festival. Other works include A Bearded Lover; Red Tide (Carbonell Nominee, Best New Play of 2008 from Broward New Times); Buck Fever (Carbonell Nominee); and Back to School, all of them produced by The Promethean Theatre where he served as Resident Playwright. Red Tide received a development workshop at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis and was presented at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Buck Fever was originally developed by Terranova Collective and was presented at The Blue Heron Arts Center in New York City. Under the direction of Artistic Director Ricky J. Martinez, the play comes to life with New Theatre veterans: Evelyn Perez, Bill Schwartz, Barbara Sloan, Scott Douglas Wilson, and making his New Theatre debut, Javier Cabrera. The company is rounded out by New Theatre’s Production Stage Manager, Jerry Jensen with Scenic Designer: Andrew Rodriguez-Triana, Costume Designer: K. Blair Brown, Sound Designer: Ozzie Quintana, and Lighting Designer: Eric J. Cantrell. Property Line is made possible in part by season programming support from the Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Affairs Council, the Mayor, the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners.
New Theatre is a multi-cultural theatre which produces a season comprised of the classics and new works. These works speak to and about our diverse contemporary audience. New Theatre has been stimulating, provoking, challenging and entertaining audiences since 1986.
Entering our 27th Anniversary Season, our theatre has flourished under the energetic Artistic Direction
of Ricky J. Martinez and Managing Director, Eileen Suarez refining its focus on works which speak of
social/religious/humanistic interests, relevant issues of discrimination based on race, gender and
sexual orientation, the immigrant's plight, the role of youth in our community, and for stories from
the heart and for the soul which celebrate the mosaic that makes up our South Florida community.
We embrace the voices of early and mid-career playwrights. Many talented artists would not have a
forum for their work without our unflagging commitment to "new voices-new work." We have
commissioned and/or produced over fifty world premieres including Nilo Cruz's 2003 Pulitzer Prize
and Steinberg award-winning play Anna in the Tropics, Steinberg and Osborn award nominated Just A
Kiss by Catherine Bush, recently published works such as Clarence Darrow's Last Trial by Shirley Lauro,
Elaine Romero's Barrio Hollywood, and David Caudle's Sunken Living Room.
Our theatre has been home to several World Premieres of local professional playwrights Michael
McKeever, Susan Westfall, Dr. Richard Janaro, Alfred Allan Lewis, Lauren Feldman, and David Caudle
which later exhibit nationally and internationally. For the past twenty years, New Theatre has housed,
in its modest hundred-seat theatre, over fifty world premieres, and as many Florida premieres before moving to its current home at The
Roxy Performing Arts Center in December 2011.
Our artists have received many honors and awards, including the Key to the City of Coral Gables,
Carbonell awards and nominations from the South Florida Theater Critics Association, Best of Miami
awards in Miami New Times and SunPost, Best of the Year listings in The Miami Herald and The Sun
Sentinel, South Florida Theatre League Silver Palm Awards and 2008 South Florida Theatre Festival
Audience Favorite for Miami-Dade County and others to boot!
Our company has been the recipient of funding from The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural
Affairs, the City of Coral Gables, The Division of Cultural Affairs of the State of Florida, and The
National Endowment for the Arts. New Theatre is a proud member of The Greater Miami Convention
and Visitors Bureau, Theatre Communications Group, The Theatre League of South Florida, The
National New Play Network (NNPN) and the Dade Cultural Alliance.