An inspired short film, Set Us Free,
driven by music and lyrics by Gregory Glade Hancock and filmed at various sites by WFYI public television, brings GHDT and WFYI to another dimension of collaboration while taking the Romeo and Juliet story to an interpretive "what-if," floating between free will and predestination. In closing a free-wheeling raucous disco hall rendition of indiscernible Capulets and Montagues with its bits of business skirting Shakespeare's script and West Side Story
, Set Us Free
provided the longed-for coherence and character development one expects in a story-ballet. While GHDT's benchmark story-ballet set on The Hunchback of Notre Dame
stirs the soul and provides virtuoso dancing, Romeo & Juliet at the Disco
is spectacle without substance. Nevertheless, the audience on Aug. 14 loved the relentless mayhem. The scattered, sudden, stop-action allusions to the original story hardly affects the non-stop disco dancers, and that may be Hancock's core comment upon who we are at this moment: A person dies, is peeled off the floor and the DJ plays on. There was a smile-making pas de deux with skates and platform shoes between Heather Helene King as Juliet and Martin Casanova as Romeo. Naptown Roller Girls skated as Capulets, guest artist Eduardo Permuy showcased his virtuosity, Ryan Koharchik debuted as The Friar (DJ), a host of children flitted as Cherubs and G2 and other guest dancers joined the regular GHDT company for a night of loud music and bright lights.