First, there was “The Vagina Monologues,” a series of monologues celebrating—well, you get it. Now, a local theater company is premiering a new salute to boobies.
But, that’s where the similarities end, points out the New Theatre’s Literary Manager Steven A. Chambers, who collaborated with Artistic Director Ricky J. Martinez on the project.
This summer, after staging the company’s Miami One Act show, the duo came up with the concept of “Keeping A-Breast” as a way to feature local playwrights while observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“The response was enthusiastic. I’m amazed how quickly it all came together,” recalls Chambers. “There is definitely an undercurrent of breast health and cancer survivorship, but it not entirely focuses on that.”
A portion of proceeds will be donated to breast cancer awareness programs in Miami-Dade County, he says.
In addition to both comic and serious monologues, several ensemble sketches were submitted, as well as poetry. Six actresses were cast and the project quickly outgrew their original concept. Scheduling issues then pushed the production up a month to September.
One of the sketches features a mother who discovers her 12-year-old daughter is facing body image problems. She has started developing breasts but doesn’t want them. The mother beautifully explains how these changes are helping her to mature into a woman.
Another piece, which Chambers describes as “abstract but a lot of fun,” is poem set in the sestima form, a riff on words. The poem extols the influence of breasts on the world and exposes the prejudices society develops as a result of looking at women’s breasts.
Among the writers who were selected for the project were Catherine Bush, Vanessa Garcia, David Caudle, James Carrey, Elly Rakowitz, Ruth Pleva, R. Kent Wilson, Peggy C. Hall and Martinez.
One of the biggest surprises for Chambers and Martinez were the submissions that came from male playwrights.
“Some of the submissions by the men were just as relevant and real as the pieces by the women. These guys really got into women’s heads and in touch with their feminine sides,” he says.
The theatre’s press materials summed up the spirit of the production best: “Voluptuous, petite, healthy or reconstructed, we give thanks for the ‘mammaries’.”
If you go
Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Through September 16
Roxy Performing Arts Center,
1645 SW 107th Ave., Miami
Tickets $35-40 at www.New-Theatre.org or call 305-443-5909