R & J & Z by Melody Bates
Directed by April Sweeney
Set & Lighting Design by Miranda Hardy
Costumes by N'tokozo Kunene
Video & Sound by Eric Magnus
Fight Choreography by Dan Renkin
Special Effects by Stephanie Cox Connolly
Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
March 2-9, 2018
"I dreamt my lady came and found me dead." It is not the obsession with the dead and thus (un)dead that Bates asks of us in her comedy R & J & Z, but I find it is the obsession with the dream, the moment of transition between two worlds.
This new play before us erupts out of Shakespeare's tumultuous, violent love story (or is it?) and brings forth a world with the logic and physics of the dream. A dream where the familiar blows into the absurd and the nightmare, for all too understood reasons, is reality.
What choices are we bound to make? Are we bound by our choices? What holds us in place? Can we escape? Will our choices consume our world and one another? Might we prove a path that breaks to reveal a light, a great lantern, a shiny place of our own making with harmony and beauty?
Using Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet as a springboard, standing on the shoulders of his astounding use of image and sound Bates tackles the high and low, brings our collective drive for shock and feeling much closer for us to see because these days what is on our screens in front of us is all we know.