Alexander Luzula / Contributing Writer
FIU’s Greenhouse Play Program made their 2022 summer season debut with the premiere reading of Miami playwright Rudi Goblen’s newest play, “While We Wait.” Told through a series of dramatic vignettes focusing on life, love and loss, the show consists of five actors interchanging through characters and scenarios all dealing with the loss of a loved one, as well as embracing the emotions involved and overcoming the experience.
Born in Nicaragua and raised in Miami, Goblen’s works borrow heavily from his upbringing in Miami and roots in experimental theatre, and has also collaborated with Greenhouse Managing Director Michael yawney on a previous project.
The live reading starred Melvin Huffnagle as Wuhn, Maleeha Naseer as Tooh, Amelia Windom as Thrii, Zakiya Iman Markland as Phore, and Yao Pang as Phive.
“I do think it’s a play we can all relate to, coming out of the pandemic, coming out of lockdown. The only thing I’ll say is I think it’s a joyous play about loss,” says Michael Yawney, Managing Director of the program and associate theater professor at FIU.
The Greenhouse Program is a playwriting program focusing on pairing up-and-coming playwrights with directors, dramaturgs and actors to fine-tune a piece during a one-week intensive. By the end of the week, the play is read and presented to a live audience for feedback.
Running since 2018, the Greenhouse has been forced to transition over to online readings through Zoom since the pandemic. Director Yawney recognizes the virtual audience as a benefit to the entire performance, as it allows for more direct feedback and accessibility for a wider audience.
“If we’re doing it live, we can call on a bunch of people in the audience to share what they think, to share what they enjoy, to share where they were confused, to share where they were overjoyed,” says Yawney. “But because we’re on Zoom, everyone can type it into the chat, so everyone in the audience, if they want to give feedback, has the opportunity to do so, which would never happen if we were live.”
Starting in 2018, Yawney developed the program to give playwrights and audiences the space they needed to create, develop, and experience experimental theater in the South Florida area.
“I began it, partly because it felt like there was a need to create a new play culture in Miami. We had so many great writers who needed support and I asked a bunch of playwrights, ‘what would you want in a program that would help you develop your scripts?’ And I listened to what they said and the result was The Greenhouse.”
“While We Wait” is the first in Greenhouse’s repertoire for this season, followed by “The Lion Tamer” by Ivan R. Lopez on July 15th and “Super-Her” by Sheila Crawley on July 22nd.