Have you ever been in a public place, a restaurant or in line at the supermarket, and wondered what story the person behind the counter or at the table next to you had to tell? What obstacles they’ve overcome, where they’ve been, and what events and landmark moments you might have coexisted in? Everyone has a story to tell, and a powerful one can be hiding in plain sight. With the general narrative of Miami and its residents overflowing with materialism, ideas of self-grandeur, and a deep disconnection with realty–it’s no wonder that the curious nature of humanity has been led somewhat astray.

As storytellers, if we continue to perpetuate the same narrative, the image of Miami where beaches, boats, and bikinis reign supreme, we are doing a disservice to the people in this city and the lives that they have built over time. Because true locals know that Miami’s real story, and the stories of those who call it home, is rich with culture, hardship, evolution, and celebration. Soon, we will be able to witness the broad spectrum of Miami’s citizens come to life for the very first time through Centro Cultural Español and Microtheater Miami‘s latest production: “I AM MIAMI.”

Written and directed by the award-winning, internationally-acclaimed Spanish director Lucia Miranda, “I AM MIAMI” brings to life the biography of the city, with an inside look at its diversity and complexity through its people. “‘I AM MIAMI’, emerged from our curiosity to better understand this interconnected cultural web we live in and serve” says the CCE Team. Over the course of several months, Miranda and the CCE Team embarked on an interview and subsequent transcription process of 60 Miami locals from all areas, ages, demographics and backgrounds in the city. The trail of tales took them from Kendall to Wynwood, Miami Beach to Allapattah, Little Haiti and beyond.

With her immense background in verbatim theatre (where plays are constructed from real people’s interviews) and her heart-felt listening skills, Miranda submerged herself in their stories, their trials and tribulations, and pieced together a set of 7, 15-minute plays brought to life inside shipping containers. The plays and their respective source stories cover everything from surviving Hurricane Andrew and coming into the city as an illegal immigrant, to finding love in the most unexpected places. As the actors take on the real-life characters they are tasked with embodying, we are given the incredibly vulnerable opportunity to find our place in this “Latin Babel” that they have rightfully given a voice to.

Through these performances, a full picture of Miami’s own story begins to emerge. The overarching detail, the connective thread among these people (other than living here at present) is a profound love and pride for this city. But not everyone’s city, their city. The one shaped by and reflective of the experiences they’ve had here, or escaped from to come here. And as fellow residents, it’s almost impossible not to see a bit of ourselves or our own stories come to life on that stage–a reminder that although we are on our own path, we’re never truly alone.

Premiering on February 14th and running until March 17th, I AM MIAMI will get to the core of the wonderful uniqueness we love about our city, no matter how frustrating it can be. The end result will be a deep-felt excavation of Miami’s true essence and what the city means to each and every one of us, even if we may seem different at first glance. A place where we all share something in common whether we realize it or not. We are here. Together. Right now. I AM MIAMI will be a strong step toward the connectedness we all feel has been lacking from the narratives of Miami’s “glitz and glam” that generally find themselves in blockbusters. Hopefully we’ll finally be able to look at each other through a kinder, more open lens. We are neighbors after all.

Tickets for the shows will be available here starting Monday, February 11th. Get them here. For now, find out more information on the story of the production and Microtheater Miami here.