Dobama presents 'Kill Move Paradise'

Dobama Theatre’s 2021–22 season continues with "Kill Move Paradise," winner of the 2018 Kesselring Prize, March 4 through March 27. 

The play, by acclaimed playwright, actor, and director James Ijames, is a biting, funny, and hopeful requiem for Black lives that takes place in a waiting room to the afterlife. In this space, four Black men—Isa, Grif, Daz, and Tiny—search for peace and hope in the lives they leave behind.

Ijames likens it to the Bardo, a Tibetan Buddhist concept of the void between death and rebirth through which everyone must pass.

As the men struggle to remember their past lives, Tiny recalls playing with a toy gun in a park, a story that echoes the 2014 murder of Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer. The other men’s stories are also emblematic of the growing number of Black lives cut short by violence. In response, the play focuses on the possibilities of collective transformation and radical acts of joy.

Ijames said that, in writing this play, he tried “to create a space in which the humanity of the people on stage is undeniable. These characters embody all the ways in which we try to be human. They are jealous, they are kind, they are maternal and paternal, they are pushed physically to the edge of something and then fall. You can’t deny their humanity. And they are all Black. So, the audience has to see them as they are.”

"If someone walks out of 'Kill Move Paradise,' and they think there is no such thing as police brutality, I’ve probably done something wrong," said Ijames. "But if they walk out thinking, ‘Can I talk to you about this?’ That’s a step, and that’s all I want.”

Ijames currently serves as co-artistic director of the Wilma Theater in Missoula, Mont., and is an assistant professor of theater at Villanova University.

Dobama’s production of "Kill Move Paradise" is directed by Nathan Henry and features Mell-Vonti Bowens Jr., Aamar-Malik Culbreth, Ananias J. Dixon, and Darius Stubbs.

Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. For a complete schedule, ticket prices, and reservations, call the Dobama Theatre box office at 216-932-3396. Ask about the "pay-as-you-can" performance on Sunday, March 6. On other nights, all tickets remaining when the box office opens—one hour before curtain—are available at the pay-as-you-can rate of $1 or more.

Anthony Zicari

Anthony Zicari is a local stage manager and the current production intern at Dobama Theatre. He studied music at Oberlin College, and previously worked with Mercury Theatre Company.

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Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 10:58 AM, 03.01.2022