Director: R/J (Strand Theater)
Role: Director. R/J is an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, centering the bodies and experiences of queer, trans, and fat people not as the objects of tragedy, but as the subjects of one of the most famous love stories of all time. Performed at the Strand Theater in Baltimore in June 2023.
The project was conceived by Baltimore theater makers Betse Lyons and O'Malley Steuerman, who asked me to come on as Director. Over the course of several years of development in the pandemic, we cast a diverse ensemble of actors to work with writers Aladrian Crowder Wetzel and Elizabeth Ung to adapt the script, only keeping in tact the Shakespearean language between Romeo and Juliet.
While I often work with experimental and devised work, I love working with and directing classical text like Shakespeare, and I love digging into the founder of English language theater all these centuries later. Not because Shakespeare is perfect, but because the texts are wide and deep enough to find relevance and profundity every time. Working with the original text, the ensemble easily found connection to two families who were doing their best to keep their biological and chosen families safe. For this project, my job was not only to guide the actors in character creation and staging, but also to help them create an ensemble of trust, interdependence, and collaboration for an epic and vulnerable project.