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The R and J Project

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The R and J Project

February 10-26, 2023

Evenings at 8:00pm

Matinees at 3:00pm

Seating is first come first serve.

Masks Required


The R and J Project follows the cast and director of First Baptist Church Drama Club's production of Romeo and Juliet both backstage and onstage as they share the joy, pain, and triumph of conquering Shakespeare's words. Break the Chain Theatre Company and Matrix Theatre Company are proud to co-produce the world premiere of The R and J Project written and directed by Craig Ester. 
The R and J Project is a Co-Production
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Break the Chain Theatre Company's Mission is to create and facilitate the creation of theatre that is diverse, empathetic, and culturally impactful. We will achieve this by creating high quality professional live theatre and arts education programs to serve the city of Detroit and those who are traditionally under-represented onstage in the theatre community. 
Diversity, Empathy and Cultural Impact: We believe that every theatre is a community theatre, and by that we mean that we must make art that serves our community. We hope to break the chain of lack of representation from different cultures in the rehearsal rooms and on stage, to break the chain of lack of empathy for both artist and audience, and finally break the chain of making art that is only focused on the past. It is our mission to hire and support artists from as many backgrounds as possible, build an audience from all walks of life, and to understand and connect with the cultural moment we find ourselves existing within. 
The R and J Project
Laketa Caston
as Alex
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Faith Berry as Chyna
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Alice Duffy 
as Lena
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Jalen Wilson-Nelem
as Chris
Cassius Merriweather as Tyler

Represented by PCG Talent agency, Laketa Caston has performed with Louisiana’s New Venture Theater in DOT, The Nacerima Society, and The Skeleton Crew. She has performed with The Theatrical Ensemble for the Arts and Manpower, Detroit’s Black Ensemble Theatre, and numerous other stage productions, including Little Shop of Horrors. She is a recipient of the Ira Aldridge Acting Award for her original work from the New York Association of Black Women in Theatre (BWIT). In addition to performing, Caston is a costume designer, a visual communications artist, a sports official, a computer transcriptionist for disabled students, and a writer. She is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard and has volunteered as a Veterans Peer Navigator for Catholic Charities. She is blessed with a family that encourages and supports her.

Faith is a graduate of Wayne State University, where she received her B.F.A. in acting. Past credits include: Michigan Shakespeare Festival Season 2022, The Mountaintop with Tipping Point Theatre, and Kilo Batra: In Death More Radiant with A Host of People. She would like to thank God, her mother Roslyn, Samuel Jr., Richard I, David and Devin, for seeing her take one step further in her artistic journey.

Al Duffy (they/them) is a non-binary actor and a recent Wayne State University graduate where they received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theatre. You may have seen them perform with The Ringwald Theatre in Puffs, A Very Golden Girls Christmas and You’ve Got Male. Al has been performing with Sofa Stories Detroit this year which you should definitely check out if you have the chance to see it. Al is very excited to be participating in new and exciting theatre with Break the Chain and Matrix, and doing Shakespeare again! They would like to thank their partner Lauren for their love and support, and they hope you enjoy the show!

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Jalen Wilson-Nemel is extremely excited to perform in his first production at Matrix Theatre Company! Past credits include his role as Eddie in Pizza Man, his final production at Oakland University. Others include Romeo in Shakespeare Royal Oak’s Romeo and Juliet and Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility. Jalen is excited to have another chance to revisit the world of R&J with a fresh, heartfelt take on why we tell these stories. He would like to thank his loving family, supportive friends, and gracious partner for being by his side.

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Performing in everything from straight plays to short films, Cassius Merriweather is beyond ecstatic to blend the works of William Shakespeare and the essence of modern plays in Matrix Theater’s The R & J Project. Studying under Henri Franklin, John Sloan III, and Kelli Crump, they’ve appeared in productions of Dominique Morriseau’s Blood at the Root, William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Qui Nyugen’s She Kills Monsters, and many more whilst finding a home in Poetry Slams throughout the state. They aim to breed Theater and Poetry into something truly special.

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Writer and Director: Craig Ester
Craig is proud to bring the R and J Project to the stage. He is a actor, playwright, and director from Detroit Michigan. In addition to writing the R and J project he has written new works for Detroit Public Theatre, Penny Seats Theatre, and Open Book Theatre.  He also serves as Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Break the Chain Theatre Company (!  He would like to thank the BTC Team for their continued hard work and dedication, Matrix for hosting us, and the Ester family for keeping him sane. Recent Acting Credits: Death of a Salesman (Howard/Stanley) with Flint Repertory Theatre, The Merry Wives of Windsor (Slender), and Henry V (Ensemble) with Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Too Heavy For Your Pocket (Tony), and  The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley (Brian) with Open Book Theatre, The Tempest (Prospero), Richard III (Hastings/Oxford), and Othello, (Othello) with Hoosier Shakespeare Festival, Macbeth (Macbeth) with Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis. 
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