Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

RED BANK: A CUBAN ‘CROSSING’ AT TWO RIVER

chariserogelioabel-1914030Charise Castro Smith, Rogelio Martinez, and Abel Gonzalez Melo are among the Cuban and Cuban-American playwrights represented in this year’s Crossing Borders Festival at Two River Theater. 

In case you didn’t know, New Jersey is second only to Florida among states in its number of Cuban-heritage residents. So when relations between Washington and Havana took a turn toward normalization this year, Jerry Ruiz saw an opportunity to dedicate this year’s Crossing Borders Festival to a genuinely historic milestone.

For the director and curator of the annual event – a free, multi-day celebration of new works by Latino creatives at Red Bank’s Two River Theater – the “Crossing Borders” brand already carried multiple layers of meaning, and with the figurative crossing into Cuba comes a chance to fulfill a mission that Ruiz has described as “creating a new audience, by building a bridge to a community.”

Now in its fifth season, the festival spotlights the voices and cultural flavorings of the Cuban and Cuban-American communities, beginning with Wednesday’s now-traditional “neighborhood party” on the theater’s outdoor plaza area – a 5 p.m. keynote of Cuban music (by guitarist David Oquendo) and food (by Asbury Park’s CubanCafé) that’s followed at 7 p.m. by an indoor discussion of Cuban history and theatrical tradition with scholar and translator Yael Prizant.

Then, from Thursday on to Sunday, it’s the playwrights’ turns to shine. Here’s the lineup:

COCKTAIL TIME IN CUBA (Thursday, August 6 at 7:30 p.m.) – Rogelio Martinez, a dramatist who came to this country during 1980’s Mariel Boatlift, offers a political thriller in which an American journalist travels to Cuba in 2006 with the hope of interviewing Fidel Castro, who has recently disappeared from public view. As he waits for his interview, navigating the labyrinthine bureaucracy and slowly falling under the country’s spell, he begins to realize that nothing in Cuba is quite what it seems.

ANESTHESIA/ ANESTESIA (Friday, August 7 at 7:30 p.m.) – Performed both in Spanish and in English translation (by Rogelio Martinez), the short play by Havana-based Agnieska Hernández Díaz looks at the complicated class dynamics and deep divisions within contemporary Cuban society, through the story of a successful (and philandering) plastic surgeon, and a violent incident visited upon his family.

CHAMACO (Saturday, August 8 at 3 pm and 7:30 p.m.) – Director Jose Zayas (Two River’s Pinkolandia) returns to Red Bank for this one-act drama in which an innocent game of chess has tragic repercussions for two boys and their families. The short play by Abel González Melo is performed in English at 3 p.m., and in Spanish at 7:30. The 3 pm reading will be followed by a conversation with artists from the festival, including Leyma López, Abel González Melo, Yael Prizant, Rogelio Martinez, Jerry Ruiz, and Jose Zayas.

THE HUNCHBACK OF SEVILLE (Sunday, August 9 at 3 p.m.) – Jerry Ruiz directs the closing entry in the festival; a “Monty Python-esque comedy” by Miami-based Charise Castro-Smith of Queen Isabella’s hunchbacked adopted sister, a royal visitation, farcical complications and “bad news from the New World.”

There’s no charge to attend any of the events in the 2015 Crossing Borders Festival, but reservations are recommended for each of the play readings, as well as the Wednesday evening party. Call the box office at (732) 345-1400, or take it here to RSVP.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
GOING GREY
Workers painting the stone facade of the PNC Bank at the corner of Broad and Harding Thursday morning. An upgrade? Maybe it’s just pri ...
COFFEE & WILDLIFE
RED BANK: The best wildlife show in town can be taken in from a waterfront bench outside the public library, and it's totally free.
FAWNING OVER HER BABY
A mother deer and her fawn were spotted between a row of garages on Hudson Avenue and some trees alongside the Broad Street parking lots. Re ...
EVENING ESCAPE
RED BANK: Sailors in Monmouth Boat Club's weekly racing series found tranquil conditions on the Navesink River Tuesday evening.
PEAK COLOR ON BROAD
RED BANK: A year after they were installed, downtown mini gardens have added to "transformational" improvements, says business owner.
RED BANK: FAIRIES MOVE IN ON WHITE STREET
Red Bank: Girl scouts turns tiny parking lot plot of dirt into a "magical girls sparkle garden."
TRAINING UNDER FIRE
RED BANK: Volunteer firefighters train to cut into pitched roofs under active fire conditions.
“SUPERMOM” WANTS YOUR VOTE
Business owner. Dyed in the wool, lifelong Red Banker. Mother of six. Yup, seems like Anita Pierce does it all. In other words, she’s ...
SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS
RED BANK: Town prepares for Saturday's Pride in the Park celebration with another lawn art design by public works supervisor and Fire Chief ...
MOVIES VIA LIBRARY
RED BANK: Public Library now offers members access to streaming movies via Kanopy, with some 30,000 titles and tons of content for kids.
NEW RAINBOW CROSSWALK ON BROWN PLACE
Kicking off pride month, some Brown Place and Spring Street residents, ages 5 to 11, constructed a rainbow crosswalk with chalk over the wee ...
WHAT TO WEAR?
RED BANK: Dressmakers' mannequins appeared to mull what to wear as they looked down on Monmouth Street last week.
SYMPHONY RETURNS JUNE 29
RED BANK: An annual crowd pleaser returns June 29 with a free concert in Marine Park by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, RiverCenter said ...
Heard on the Green
Heard on the Green
DUCK RESCUE EFFORT
Duckling rescue attempt underway in sewer at East Front and Broad, 10:29 a.m.
HOUSING CRUNCH
Demolition begins for new apartments at Globe Court and Mechanic Street.
FEELING SNAPPY
      Snapping Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs this time of year and are a common site along the Swimming River waterfr ...
TUB TIME
RED BANK: A sparrow waits for the next available dirt tub while two others take their Sunday baths. (Click for video.)
CHECK IT OUT
A bench outside the Red Bank Public Library provided a serene view of our beautiful Navesink River Monday evening.
WAYWARD SLIM JIM
Anybody lose a Slim Jim? A “Sweet Mild O’ Mine” flavor Slim Jim was seen left unattended on this mailbox on Mechanic Stree ...