Story by Carrie Beth Wallace
Images by Sonnet Moore
Muddy Water Theatre Project opens their second year of R + J Theory tonight at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center. The show, conceived by Columbus native Benjiman Redding, sold out last year and returns to the stage by popular local demand.
R + J pushes the boundaries of traditional theatre while honoring Shakespeare's ingenious text and story. Instead of the typically conservative Elizabethan costuming, and historically appropriate, often reserved, subtexts of Shakespearean actors, Redding's R + J incorporates modern fashion, movement, and an eclectic score.
Read on to discover five things to know before you see the show this weekend.
1 - It's an Adaptation.
R + J Theory is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet set for the modern world. Shakespeare buffs will absolutely recognize the storyline, but Redding has taken creative liberties with the work.
2 - Everyone Involved is Local.
Redding grew up in Harris County, and has toured nationally as an actor. He has extensive training both onstage and off, and has sought out top local talent to execute his vision for the production. Everyone you will encounter at R + J Theory is local from the vendors at the Night Market to the production team.
Visit the Night Market before the show to encounter the following vendors representing healthy living, wellness and sustainable initiatives.
River Flow Yoga
Gina Tew DesigN
Naked Bath and Body Co.
Earth Mama Medicine
Honey Hive HennA
Treasures of the River Styx.
If you've been seeking out ways to support local initiatives in arts & culture, attending R + J Theory is a phenomenal way to engage in theatre in a non-traditional setting.
Sonnet Moore, our Social Media and Marketing Director, attended an exclusive preview of the show. "R + J Theory transports us into the comfort of a theatre setting, while stretching our understanding of what theatre can actually be," said Moore.
3 - It's Immersive + Inclusive.
R + J Theory puts representation at the forefront of its production. By introducing gender fluidity and incorporating LGBTQ+ characters and relationships, it promotes inclusivity in a way Columbus, Georgia has not yet seen.
"Representation of all Humans is essential to our community," said Moore. "I am excited to see the outpouring of love this production will foster in our city."
4 - It's Movement-based.
Redding and Heather Plumberg choreographed the show to an eclectic soundtrack including modern songs like When Love Takes Over by David Guetta, Lose My Cool by Amber Mark/Franc Moody, and Till I Collapse by Eminem and Nate Dogg. Additional choreography was also developed by Shane Hall, and all of the fight choreography was developed by Kristin Reyelt.
5 - It's Empowering.
Redding's R + J presents Shakespeare in a way that everyone can relate to it. The themes, although mature, are empowering and raw. Audience members will leave with a renewed understanding of others, and a sense of a shared experience.
"This production provides a new perspective of what Romeo and Juliet experienced and how important it is to love the people we are given - despite the challenges and the odds presented to you," Moore explained. "R + J Theory reminds us that love is messy. Love isn't easy. Do it anyway."
If You Go:
What: R + J Theory
When: November 14-16, Night Market begins at 7:00 p.m. Show starts at 8:30 p.m.
Where: Columbus Convention and Trade Center
More to Know: This show is presented in partnership with Uptown Columbus, Prodigy Dance Centre and the CSU Art Club. R + J: Theory is rated PG-13. Mild use of fog and strobe.
Benjiman Redding - Director
Lindi Taylor - Art Director
Raven Triplett - Lighting Design
Hunter Lewis - Stage Manager