77.3 F
Miami
Sunday, June 26, 2022

Broadway producer Jim Kierstead’s “Borrowed” debuts in Miami

The play “Borrowed” will make its stage debut roughly three months after its premiere as a movie.

The film version was launched in March at the Miami Film Festival.

Written by Broadway producer Jim Kierstead, the script started out as a theater piece, but before “Borrowed” could make it from the page to the stage, movie producers snapped it up. Both iterations are billed as a psychological thriller, though the play is darker, according to Kierstead.

“The movie is a very different version,” he explains. “It’s almost a romance.”

For both, the story centers on David, a reclusive 50-something Army veteran and amateur artist who bears physical and emotional scars. While cruising online dating sites, he finds Justin, an openly gay, younger and handsome man. But when Justin shows up at David’s home, the evening goes terribly wrong, turning into a psychological cat-and-mouse game.

“The play is actually set in New York and New Jersey,” Kierstead says. “What they did for the movie is set it in The Keys. And I think basically [it works in any] remote area, a beautiful area, anywhere where there are new people coming in that no one really knows … a beautiful view and being remote, being isolated from other people.

“It’s not like he can scream and anyone can hear him. He’s not going to get out of there unless this person lets him. He’s forced into using his cunning and charm to get the hell out of there.”

This is Kierstead’s debut as a playwright. The New Yorker is best known as a producer with four Tony Awards, and Emmy and an Olivier on his mantle. His Broadway credits include “Kinky Boots,” “The Lehman Trilogy,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “The Minutes” and revivals of “Pippin” and “Company.” In Miami, Kierstead was co-executive producer of “The Amparo Experience,” the story of Cuba’s Havana Club.

In the play, David is played by Caleb Scott (”7 Deadly Sins”; “The Cubans”), who lives in South Beach. Justin is played by Ernesto Reyes (“Luz,” “Days of Our Lives”), who lives in Miami’s Edgewater.

Below, find more about the stage version of “Borrowed” in excerpts from a Q&A with the actors and the playwright.

Jim Kierstead (playwright): “Some monologues from the play were read at the Arsht Center’s … At Home series. And as a result of that, two theater companies saw the monologues online and asked for the play, and they both did Zoom readings. As a result of that, these two filmmakers came to me and said, ‘We want to turn your play into our next film,’ which, by the way, is quite different than the play. And, as a result of that film being screened at the Miami Film Festival … everyone said why don’t we do the play?”

Caleb Scott (David): “It wasn’t really on my radar at all. Melissa [Almaguer, the director] reached out to me directly and asked me if I would read for it. I didn’t know much about the productions, nothing about the play. I read the sides they sent me and they were really compelling.”

Ernesto Reyes (Justin): “I’m coming from a period in my life when there was a restart. After COVID, after everything that was happening, I let go of a lot of things. I let go of that past version of myself. I just wanted to connect to my real values, my family, love and creating new work. I put that on the side and came to Florida to experience something new and not to chase, but rather to attract — just see what things come my way, spiritually, relations, whatever. The last movie I did, ‘Luz,’ … I went to another place as an artist. After that, I was hmmm, what will be next?”

Kierstead: There are things that are layered in the play … that really pay off in the end so that when you get to the end, you don’t just arrive there out of left field. It’s a well-earned ending to the show. It’s not a comedy, but there’s a lot of humor in the banter back and forth.”

Reyes: “No. I intended to, but that wasn’t something that we thought … I should do, at least until after the show. I watched the trailer, which I thought was really tense and really interesting. And I’m glad I didn’t, you know? So I don’t have any other perception. I think that’s where the juice is, right? There was curiosity obviously … but then ultimately … I thought, let me just enjoy this from point zero.”

Scott: “The play is really powerful. There is a lot going on internally for this character of David. I really felt for the character, I guess, for what he is going through.”

Reyes: “There were so many levels. It’s so well-written. It’s so much fun to be Justin. This character is fun. He’s sassy, sarcastic, very witty. I really fell in love with him.”

Scott: “It was really the first day of rehearsal. I went in and we’re rehearsing at the venue, which isn’t a theater. It’s sort of a multiuse space at the Ironside complex. I met the whole team and I asked them, ‘This is a great rehearsal space, but where are we performing?’ And they said, ‘We’re performing here.’ And that was a surprise because it’s an intimate space. I was looking around like, ‘Where are people going to sit?’ But now that we’ve been rehearsing and have a sense of that intimacy … I was able to internalize that, but it was a surprise.”

Reyes: “The level of professionalism. I was raised here. I started my whole life here as an actor, so I know how the production can be. Sometimes the artists are not taken … seriously. In my mind, I had this question but I thought the script is great. I didn’t know how much was invested in this intimate, small project. It’s huge. That makes it huge for me, as an artist, as an actor.”

Scott: “Our first read-through of the script, there was a moment that was surprisingly emotional. I hadn’t done any work on the script. I like to go in a process very open … and so we read the script kind of cold. There was a moment where I became emotional. I think I had to stop reading from a moment to gather myself. It speaks to how the play, it’s emotionally complicated. There are layers and layers and layers of emotions that reveal themselves through many different actions throughout the play. On its face, the play is a thriller, but it’s really about much deeper things.”

Reyes: “Yeah, in this very specific point in which Justin is kind of like telling this story to David, telling him about a period in his life when he was a kid. And he’s talking about a very specific character in his life that kind of touched him in a very profound way. And that was me, even at the same age, 10-11, coming to Miami, coming to the U.S. [from Colombia], one specific person. I was like, ‘Oh, ohhhhh. What? What is this?’ That was something I couldn’t explain. I haven’t even told them yet. It still hits me every time in rehearsal. I get it. That was really, really special.”

The Weekender - South Florida Events

The Weekender – South Florida Events

Weekly

Get a roundup of the best events and things to do in South Florida so you can make it an epic weekend.

Reyes: “‘Borrowed’ is a very unique experience … We’re kind of like borrowing each other. We borrow things but also relationships. If people can really be open to the concept of borrowing each other — not using, or stealing, but borrowing. To kind of like borrow things to accomplish something or feel something or make something happen, right? So I hope people get this concept of borrowing something in a positive way.”

Reyes: “Compassion. I think we could really use some of that these days. It’s really easy to judge or feel judged. It’s harder to have the compassion to allow people to show you their truths. That is not black-and-white. It has many layers.”

Kierstead: “I would hope that people leave with a couple of things. One of them is that theme of forgiveness. I think it’s really important for people to forgive other people and forgive themselves. The other thing is: When people tell you how they feel, you should believe them. You know, during the COVID pandemic, we would ask each other, ‘How are you?’ And people would answer, ‘I’m good, I’m good.’ And they were really not that way.”

Scott: “The play is fairly dark in that it deals with some deep, deep issues of trauma and loss and loneliness. But there is also this theme of desperate human connection — that we’re all just trying to bond with each other in some way. What I hope is that despite the darkness, but through that kind of harrowing adventure, the sort of dark adventure of the play, that on the other side there’s a feeling of hope, a kind of optimism that people can move through darkness and find closure and acceptance, I guess. Because ultimately that is what the play is striving for.”

Kierstead: “Make sure to get out [your] Kleenex.”

Reyes: “You are loved. I think we’re going through a time when it’s hard to [feel] love, from carrying so much pain, so much on our shoulders all the time. I think we don’t take time to stand still and sit and share and release. There are moments in this play … that you get to question but also reflect on your own life, in order for you to create something substantial for yourself and the world, something you can really feel good about, you have to have love. A lot of people are going through life without that. Once we have that clear, we can do anything.”

Scott: “Don’t be scared.”

Source

Related Articles

Latest Articles