WIW’s 2017 partnership with GableStage and Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” reduced the play to fifty-minutes, each of the seven actors serving as a moderator to link absent scenes from their character’s perspective. Through hilarious and oftentimes sober action the adaptation examined the issues of climate change and consumerism as the bedraggled, shipwrecked party attempted to survive on Prospero’s “magical” island without the aid of social media and technology. As was hoped, they and their audiences found magic of a more compelling kind.
A forum-theatre experience bringing together high schools and professional performers to create and produce an updated version of Shakespeare's classic tale, Romeo & Juliet, while addressing various topics like gun violence, parental control, and drug abuse.
TAMING OF THE SHREW
Is it still possible to produce Shakespeare's play in the age of the #METOO movement? WiW & Gablestage's High School Tour played to over 9,000 students in 15 different schools.
In 2015 What if Works began a partnership with award-winning GableStage producing four of its annual Shakespeare schools tours with alumni actors from Florida International University. Its first tour, Julius Caesar presented a thrilling, technology-driven concept exposing the world of contemporary warfare. Prompted by the historic graduation of two female rangers from West Point, Cassius became Cassia giving rise to many questions about female leadership in the army.
Written & Directed by: Phillip M. Church. How biographical were Shakespeare's plays? akaHamlet examines the parallels lives of Shakespeare & Hamlet. Played to over 12,000 students through out Miami Dade County.
THE BELLE of AMHERST
In conjunction with “The Emily Project”, WIW produced the celebrated one-person play by William Luce, “The Belle of Amherst”. While “The Emily Project” offered the community a hands-on educational opportunity to explore poetry “The Belle of Amherst” shared the often complex and dramatic life of one of America’s greatest poets. The production was presented in libraries, a church, and a women’s club.
In response to a threat of two historic homes in Coconut Grove being razed and a defiant protest by neighbors confronting the bulldozers What if Works mounted a production of Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” drawing attention to the issue of Miami’s diminishing history. The production’s minimalist setting was staged at selected sites using facades of historic relevance as backdrops to serve as a reminder of the heavy price we pay when history is erased from sight and memories have nothing with which to associate.
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
In its first co-production with the Homestead Center for the Arts What if Works brought South Florida an evening of spellbinding theater. Presented at South Miami’s Artistic Vibes and at the Homestead Women’s Club these eclectic environments and audiences allowed the play to speak in very different ways about mental illness and the deep-seated need for a maternal presence in our lives.
HOLOCAUST: a living journey book
“Holocaust: a living journey-book” set out to explore the meaning of memory and memorial in society. A “dramatic curation” of drama, song, dance and survivor testimonials created a thread between the poems of Nobel Prize winner Nelly Sachs. Featuring cello and clarinet solos by Jason Calloway, (Amernet String Quartet) and clarinetist, Carla Cao, (New World School of the Arts) newsreel and archival footage delivered the productions’ most devastating reminder of what man must never ever repeat.
BODY & SOLD
Written by: Deborah Fortson
In collaboration with Tempest Productions What if Works produced “Body & Sold”, a docudrama by Boston playwright Deborah Fortson examining the plight of five runaway trafficking victims. Beginning as a dramatized stage reading at Florida International University, What if Works developed a staged production in collaboration with McKinley Tech High School in Washington DC to mark Human Trafficking Awareness Day. The production was performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. followed by performances in the UK at Solent Southampton University and the Rose Theatre Kingston, London in 2011.
HOW IT HANGS
Written by: Grace McKeaney Directed by: Chelsea Wallach
In 2009 Grace McKeaney's comic one act play, “How it Hangs” marked the inauguration of What if Works as a post-graduate, community engaged company in Miami. Featuring the lives of four women in desperate need of support from "The Temporary Shelter for Battered Women Past and Present Looking to Get Better in Lusk, Wyoming". The play was produced to raise awareness and support for No More Tears, a social service group in Plantation, Florida, caring for the needs of over two-hundred abused women both locally and those fleeing abusive situations from all parts of the globe.
with strings attached
“A Nutcracker…(with strings attached)” was a unique experience bringing two actors, four dancers and a string quartet together to relive ET Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker” ballet into a theatre adaptation. Through a county-wide competition, backdrops from fifteen middle school art students were projected behind the action. With the Amernet String Quartet center stage “A Nutcracker…with strings attached!” has increased awareness toward the need for early education raising funds for the Children’s Movement of Florida, Miami Children’s Hospital and Roxy Theatre Group.
EMERGING ARTISTS - HAVANA NIGHTS
What if Works offers post-graduates and continuing students the opportunity to earn their scholarship by developing their own recitals. Proceeds from the recitals go directly to the artists’ scholarship fund.
In 2008 WIW had the privilege of producing Carly Simon’s only opera, the one-act “Romulus Hunt” at the Olympia Theatre in downtown Miami. The production was a fundraiser for CHARLEE Homes for Children with the opera’s theme being family separation. While Romulus fails to bring his parents back together through the help of a Rastafarian imaginary friend his efforts succeed in strengthening mutual respect between parents and child. WIW is currently developing plans to adapt “Romulus Hunt” into a film.
HANNAH & GRETCHEN
Directed by Anton Church, Best Actor - Pia Vila, Best Ensemble
Hannah and Gretchen begin their workday as they typically do, though Hannah has been stressed over her future in the office. She has a meeting to prepare for, pressure from her intimidating boss, and news she is nervous to share with Gretchen. A letter then appears, addressed to her, with no explanation. With a tendency toward drama, Gretchen is instantly taken with the idea of following the trail that has been left for them. After some convincing, Hannah agrees. Experiencing odd coworkers and puzzling locations, the two begin to unfold the mystery of these suspicious notes.
LONERS NOT LOSERS
WIW’s second film was made possible through the support of the Audrey Love Foundation. “Loners Not Losers” is a twenty-minute MTV-styled piece, written and performed by Armando Tranqulino. The film conveys the story of a young freshman newly arrived at college and the overwhelming feeling of change and alienation. She finally discovers refuge in a support group on campus and is able to begin to rely upon her own sense of worth.
CONDITIONS OF SECRECY
In response to the alarming rise of AIDS in high schools during the late 1980’s WIW produced its first feature-length film as a way to help increase awareness towards the disease. “Conditions of Secrecy” explores the life of a young college baseball player, unable to cope with the diagnosis of AIDS. The film stars TV and screen actor Danny Pino in his graduation year from Florida International University. With supervision from medical specialists from the Wellness Center at Florida International University and with the cooperation of the FIU coach Danny Price and the FIU Baseball team “Conditions of Secrecy” was sponsored by Blockbuster and featured in all its South Florida stores. The film was distributed through NIMCO to schools and clinics across the country.
EMERGING FILMMAKER WORKSHOP
During the summer of 2018, through the generous support of the Homestead Center for the Arts and in collaboration with the Seminole Theatre and Ear Responsible Studios, WIW conducted a four-week “Emerging Moviemaker Workshop” for at-risk youth in the South Dade/Homestead area. Four graduate interns from FIU’s Department of Theatre passed on their own moviemaking experience to twenty-two youths, each focused on the basics of camera direction, storyboarding, screenwriting, producing and acting. A screening of their final five-minute projects at the Seminole Theatre produced jaw-dropping responses from the audience!
THE EMILY PROJECT
In October 2018 Emily Dickinson and her brother Austin visited thirteen middle schools throughout Miami Dade County to share Emily’s poetry and mentor poetry writing. One-hundred and twenty submissions were reviewed by graduates in poetry from the Creative Writing program at Florida International University, with the final thirteen selected by Richard Blanco, Denise Duhamel and Ana Menendez. Poems were based on the themes of “Friendship”, “Trust” and Truth” Spoken word, rap and hip-hop, native languages and rhymed or unrhymed verse were all encouraged. Thirteen middle school students shared in public their fourteen-line sonnets at a final “Dickinson’s Young Poets Celebration.”
THE EMILY DOCUMENTARY
IN POST PRODUCTION