Gertrude Stein, Alice Toklas and Pablo Picasso

Article excerpt

Gertrude Stein, Alice Toklas & Pablo Picasso, a new play by Alcides Nogueira, one of Brazil's most talented writers for stage and screen, met with the same standing ovations in Miami as it had in Sao Paulo. The imaginative staging, under the joint direction of Antonio Abujamra and the talented young Marcio Aurelio, starred legendary Brazilian actress Nicette Bruno, whose celebration of 50 years on the stage coincided with the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Stein's death.

As the festival enters its second decade, Sanchez regrets that he can still consider only relatively small-scale works and wishes he could offer more generous fees - yet he dreams of adding other cities to the festival circuit as early as next June. Once the companies are in the country, Sanchez reasons, it seems wasteful not to spread the wealth.

Both geography and language, Sanchez believes, present obstacles to attracting national press coverage and potential producers from other cities. While audiences overcome linguistic barriers for companies from Europe, theatre work from Latin America has not found a similar niche, in spite of this country's rapidly growing Hispanic market, and the accessiblity of supertitles and simultaneous translation technology. Sanchez suspects that Miami's geographical isolation in the Southeast and its low profile as a cultural center tend to further limit the festival's national visibility. But the city's vibrant cultural scene is beginning to attract attention, with a recent New York Times Arts and Leisure section cover story even proclaiming Miami "the Hollywood of Latin America." If this showbiz appellation is not, strictly speaking, the answer to Sanchez's prayers, it does suggest a growing awareness that this sophisticated multicultural city is more than a backwater for aged retirees or a hedonistic vacation destination where life, as they say, is a beach. …