‘Dreamscapes’: Ever Had One of Those Dreams Where You Scream but Nothing Comes Out?
by Selene Santiago
Shot twelve times by four Riverside police officers, nineteen year-old Myeshia Miller is left to dream and die alone in her car on December 28,1998. Written and directed by Rickérby Hinds and produced by Hindsight Productions, Dreamscape is a stoic coroner’s autopsy report set to beatboxing, spoken word, dance and last moment reminisces.
Two chairs set back to back on an otherwise bare stage is where Myeshia, powerfully embodied by Rhaechyl Walker, draws the audience in while she dances/moves to Otis Redding’s “White Christmas.” You see, it’s just after Christmas, and it’s the third day of Kwanzaa, and Myeshia is going out for some fun when her car gets a flat. A call to her cousin for the AAA card and a handful of minutes later, Myeshia can’t be roused from her seeming sleep. We never learn why exactly Myeshia is unconscious (a possible drug overdose is alluded to) but we do know that she has a gun on her lap as she mantra-spits, “.38 on my lap in case I get rocked on,” from time to time. Cops called to the scene and a surprise gunshot/loud sound later, and the four policemen are firing into the car.
Each gunshot wound is described in cold detail and vocally remixed by the awe-inspiring John “Faahz” Merchant—seriously this homie is LEGIT—to beats and live samples of popular 1990s hip-hop songs. For each wound, Myeshia vivaciously recalls her dynamic, young life through dance, spoken word, jokes, pain, love, and the beautiful self-esteem one has for herself when her whole life is ahead of her. The joy of her memories sandwiched between every gunshot is heartbreaking yet celebratory; for her short years, she has LIVED.
Dreamscapes is a powerhouse conversation piece on women, violence, fear, misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and the socio-economic politics of being a person of color in America and in this case, more specifically, the Inland Empire. Go see this piece; it is everything wonderful about live performance and will leave itself sticking to your mental ribs.
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Dreamscapes, Written and directed by Rickérby Hinds and produced by Hindsight Productions, is part of Los Angeles Theater Center’s inaugural Encuentro 2014 Latino theater festival with remaining shows on: