Ocean Filibuster is a Brilliant, Imaginative, Interactive Satire

Ocean Filibuster is a colorful, funny, hybrid of a production, swaying between a dramatic satirical play and an engaging, educational musical. It’s scientific, political, interactive, fun and fit for all ages. But also very serious and important. From the onset, this original play emits absurdity, creativity, and dynamicism, with a sharp satirical edge.

Live Arts Miami is the third to host Ocean Filibuster.

The play first premiered this Spring in Cambridge, at Harvard, then had a run at the University of Houston — and now us, vis-à-vis Miami Dade College.

Filibuster, if you don’t know, is a political term or tactic, designated by the Senate, in which a member can stall for time in order to avoid the passing of a bill. In theory, a Senator can literally talk endlessly, to avoid voting on a bill.  The concept behind Ocean Filibuster is simple. When it comes to doing something about climate change, we are all bluster.

The play itself is unique.

Act I takes place in the Senate as the “Majority Leader” prepares to pass a law basically eliminating the ocean. Enter the ocean, or “O” — who begins to filibuster. Performer Jenn Kidwell absolutely slays going back-and-forth between Mr. Majority and the ocean.  There are other actors in this educational, witty, colorful production, such as protesters in the audience, a chorus of luminescent jellyfish and an absolutely hilarious administrative sidekick to the Senate. But, without question, it is the dynamic performance of Ms. Kidwell whom commands our attention from the very beginning to the end.

Multi-faceted performer, Jenn Kidwell

Ocean Filibuster So Simple, So Deep

During intermission, a 15 minute break, audience members are invited by the illuminated jellyfish to tour around the stage, behind the stage and in the lobby where QR codes and placards and interactive displays and games are strategically staged to educate us about issues related to our ocean. Never seen anything like it at a play, to be honest.

Act two drifts away from the Senate Filibuster and coral-morphologically transforms into a scientific musical. Funky at times, classical at others, the goal is clear: to use sound and music as a wave, to sway us to-and-fro, to crash upon our shores, to surf, to play and maybe even in drown in the depth of this issue, and the depth of this hybrid play.

PearlDamour produced Ocean Filibuster, with Brooklyn-based director Katie Pearl, and New Orleans-based playwright Lisa D’Amour both in town for its run.  Catch this wonderful production at the Arsht Center. It is running until November 20th.

Tickets can be bought here.

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J.J. Colagrande

Has written about Miami culture for almost twenty years, first with The Miami Herald, then Miami New Times and Huffington Post. He's the publisher of The Jitney and a full-time professor.