What made you want to tell this story?
I wrote Dreamscape out of a sense of obligation more than anything. Although I was intimately aware of the shooting and subsequent activities surrounding it--community forums, demonstrations, trials--I was reluctant to tell the story in spite of the apparent need to address the ongoing tenuous relationship between the African-American community and the police. It wasn't until 2005, seven years after the shooting, that I completed Dreamscape.
|Rhaechyl Walker in Dreamscape|
Dreamscape was initially conceived as a solo performance for a dancer (who could act) with DJ accompaniment. But, as I wrote and re-wrote the play, I found that the interaction between the DJ as the antagonist with Myeisha’s protagonist presented me with a more compelling and dramatic performance. After several readings and performances with the DJ, it was suggested that I try a beatboxer in that role. So when I finally directed Dreamscape myself, I chose to use a beatboxer and discovered that the power of the play increased exponentially.
I chose spoken word/poetry because I wanted to bring beauty through language to a situation that was so horrific. My desire for beauty out of tragedy was also the reason why I chose to include dance to the degree that I did. The other thing that dance brought to Dreamscape was the ability to have the audience focus on the body of the protagonist in a way that words could not--to take the body apart and put it back together again solely through movement.
What has been your creative process with this work?
|John "Faahz" Merchant in Dreamscape|
After writing the script, my process as director has been to let the actors bring their foundation talents (beatboxing, acting, dancing) and to build the performance based on what they bring to the table, understanding the different approach I should take when working with a beatboxer who acts versus an actor who beatboxes.
Why do you think this story will resonate with audiences?
I think the story will resonate with audiences because of the significance of the theme being explored, as well as the theatrical way in which such a difficult topic is explored.
What do you want people to come away with having experienced this story?
A compelling theatrical experience.
Dreamscape will be performed as a part of Studio SCR, Jan. 16-19, 2014. Get your tickets here.