Talk about resonance. A one-man show about José Martí performed in Ybor City, where the Cuban national hero made some of his most important speeches to rally the cigar workers in support of Cuban independence.
Chaz Mena stars in Charla — A Chat With José Martí, which is done in interactive style, with the audience encouraged to pose questions and participate throughout the show. "Chaz Mena's portrayal of José Martí taught my students more about Cuban history, North American politics and virtuoso acting in 40 minutes than any of them had learned in an entire semester,'' said Ron Cooper, a professor at Central Florida Community College, in a news release.
Mena is familiar to Tampa Bay area theater audiences, having starred as sportswriter Mitch Albom in Tuesdays With Morrie a few months ago at American Stage, as well as an exiled Cuban novelist in By the Waters of Babylon at the St. Petersburg theater in 2008.
Charla is performed at 7:30 tonight and Friday night in the Mainstage Theater of the newly renovated Performing Arts Building on the Ybor campus of Hillsborough Community College, Palm Avenue and 14th Street, Tampa. This is near a couple of Martí sites: the Cuban Club at 14th Street and 10th Avenue and José Martí Park at the corner of Eighth Avenue and 13th Street. $5, $10. (813) 253-7695.
John Fleming, Times performing arts critic