Five Questions for: Tanya Bravo
Founder & Artistic Director of Juggerknot Theatre Company
Tanya Bravo, who founded Juggerknot Theater company, brings us the second season of Miami Motel Stories -- a theater experience that so authentically relays the history of a local neighborhood, this upcoming performance got help with set creation from the iconic Don Bailey, who still lies semi-nude on billboards around Miami selling his carpets. This mobile theater each season features a new neighborhood, providing a voyeuristic view into some of Miami's most colorful characters throughout the decades. And important players are watching, as the shows been awarded a Knights Arts Challenge Grant and also the research support of HistoryMiami Museum. And in addition to Baileys carpets, the upcoming show about Miami's Modern district (MiMo) has other era specific furniture and throwback attire, leaving us to wish we wore our hippest velour pants to this party. But as it gets started, we sat down with Bravo, and got her to take us behind the scenes of this production.
What would you say is the shtick of the show?
The show is a combination of a Pop-Up Show & Immersive Theater, and it is site specific. Last year's show highlighted Little Havana at the historic Tower Hotel, and this year's show is at the Gold Dust Motel in Miami's MiMo (Miami Modern district) which spans 50th Street until 77th Street along Biscayne Boulevard. The Miami Motel Stories are vignettes about the neighborhood and what occurred on the boulevard from 1957 to present day. The sets and decor reflect with precision the different eras and are true to life back in the day.
How does Miami Motel Stories integrate the surrounding neighborhood?
Having the show in MiMo is also a great opportunity for us to support many savory MiMo area restaurants including Pauli Gees (pizza), Vagabond (hotel sushi bar & back pool bar), Cream Parlor (ice cream and food), Flavorish (coffee shop), plus many more. Miami Motel Stories staff even get a VIP card to Gold Rush Cabaret, where they get $5 meals and a free drink. One of the clubs most popular specials is Tacos & Tequila Tuesdays.
How did you set up the hotel to get it ready for the show?
Developer Avra Jain worked with us and we fell in love with this location and the layout. We are so excited for people who think they know their town, will probably get some nuggets of information they will be surprised to learn about.
How did you come up with this idea?
I went to school at Barry University, and double majored in communications and Theatre. Shortly after college I began acting professionally and started Juggerknot Theatre Company in early 2000's. It was based in a small motel off of Biscayne Blvd where Balans sits now. The owner of the motel, Teresa Pooler and Chuck Pooler ran a small bookstore called Drama 101 and allowed us to create a black box in one of the motel rooms. I eventually moved to NYC and had Juggerknot based in both cities.
After working in the music business and also lifestyle brands -- with the likes of the Latin Funk Music Festival, MySpace music, Remezcla.com, William Morris, The South Beach Comedy Festival, the NY International Latino Film Festival, and Heineken USA -- I missed theatre and my original passion. It was director Tamila Woodard who introduced me to immersive theatre. And I eventually partnered with Juan C. Sanchez a playwright from Miami. This project brings together all my career paths into a passion project that tells the history of Miami... one room at a time.
What are the different experiences available for the show?
There are 3 different types of tickets one can purchase and were playing upon the motel theme to offer the audience an experience to be motel guests. Check In ($45) gives you intimate, interactive theater experiences with the actors such as enjoying Cafe La Llave coffee with a waitress. All Access ($65) is a more intimate group of people per room who see the different slices of an era. And Nightcap ($75) is the last show each Friday and includes live music and a Chivas Regal cocktail.
SHOW INFORMATION: Miami Motel Stories runs November 30th to December 23rd, though showtimes vary, check MiamiMotelStories.com for available times and age restrictions.
Show location: The Gold Dust by Selina
7700 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33138