The classic soap opera Dallas is getting another reboot, this time in the form of a live stage show, happening at 2:30 p.m Saturday, July 20. Dallas: The Remix will run at Fretz Park Library in the Black Box Theater. Grounding the over-the-top characters with the equally dramatic real history of Dallas, the play takes on gender, race and media that filters out the rough edges that rightfully should remain onscreen.
When co-creators Darryl Ratcliff and Krissy Bodge originally thought of dissecting the long-running show, the duo were kicking around the idea of doing a podcast.
“We started talking about how neither of us had seen Dallas,” Ratcliff says. “Maybe we should do a podcast where we rewatch Dallas, and comment on the episodes, and then that evolved into, ‘Well maybe it should be a play.’”
The idea was solid, but Ratcliff realized his background as a visual artist would not be fully suited to create a stage play on his own. To make the play a reality, Ratcliff reached out via social media to his theater friends, asking if anyone would be interested in collaborating on the project.
One person that replied to Ratcliff’s creative distress call was director Cain Rodriguez. A veteran of multiple independent theater productions in Dallas, Rodriguez recalls hearing the idea of updating the soap opera, telling Ratcliff and Bodge it was the most ludicrous concept he’d ever heard, and then immediately signing up to help helm the show.
“Think of the tone as sort of a Ryan Murphy or Shonda Rhimes show, with a political undercurrent,” Rodriguez says. “Because the script that we’re working with now, it has footnotes referencing various lines of dialogue that if you follow it, directly correlates to real life examples that happened in Dallas’ history.”
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The play revisits moments in history, such as the bribery scandals that happened within the Dallas City Council, providing a commentary on Dallas’ history within a television trope framework that viewers are familiar with. From the plot to the casting, the creators of Dallas: The Remix want to provide their audience with an accurate portrayal of the faces seen in a Dallas neighborhood.
“Within the theater community here there is a glut of talented female identifying actors who don’t get a lot of roles simply because a lot of the canon of theater is male dominated,” Rodriguez says. “So our cast is majority female identifying … We also have a majority minority cast. So there’s a plurality of African American, Hispanic performers in the cast.”
While the production of Dallas: The Remix promotes a message of inclusivity on stage, it also continues that same mentality behind the scenes. Performers and artists from various different backgrounds and visual mediums came together in their spare time to make the show happen, a fact that’s not lost on Ratcliff.
“The hardest work was actually just getting these talented people to agree to it,” Ratcliff says. “I think everyone’s been really generous with ego and things of that nature. Particularly when we were diving into the script and what directions scenes should go, how we were responding to different characters. I think everyone was really generous and kind listening to everyone’s input. I think having a diversity of perspectives is going to lead to a better piece of art.”