R & J
Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2018
What is R&J?
R&J is a two-player, multi-day game exploring intimacy and self-expression in the digital world. The game, played exclusively on players cellphones, mirrors the actions of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Romeo & Juliet, in which you finally get over your useless ex gf- Rosalind, meet and marry your soulmate, get banished from your hometown, tell off your control freak Dad, and fake poison yourself. Each day of the game corresponds to one day of action within the play, which takes place over the course of five epically stupid days. The game can be played with a friend or, more authentically, with a total stranger (which, lest we forget, R&J were to each other at the start of this intense, intimate catastrophe).
R&J has been presented at Come Out and Play (NYC, 2017), and Bandwi/d/th International Online Togetherness Festival (2018).
How do I play?
Each day you will receive instructions relaying instructions for the following day. Some of the days require a greater time commitment than others though the actions for each day can be tailored to yours and your partners specifications. The game is designed to enhance the week you’re already having, not destroy your productivity ; ) In the broadest terms, Day 1 (Monday) and Day 2 (Tuesday) require the greatest time commitment. The game is best experienced when you can play consistently throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday, however, if your time is limited on either of these days the game can be tailored to meet your needs.
Who is my game partner?
Your game partner is a fellow festival-goer and the person you’ll be journeying through the game with for the next five days. If you prefer to choose your own partner based on your own criteria for who you’d like to get to know better over the next five days, you are welcome to do so. For instance, you may wish to play with someone you make eye contact with while walking down the street tomorrow morning and fear you may never see again. If they’re game and you’re game, we’re game.
Do I need to know anything about Shakespeare to play R&J?
Nope. Not a thing. There’s something to be said for going into the game with only your high school english class memories of the story but if you’re looking for a Wiki refresher:
The Montagues and Capulets are sworn enemies. Romeo (Montague’s son) and his crew crash a masked ball at the Capulet house in hopes of meeting Rosaline, the girl Romeo has a crush on. Romeo instead meets Juliet Capulet. After the ball Romeo sneaks into the Capulet orchard and he and Juliet agree to be married. With the help of Juliet’s nurse and Friar Laurence, who hopes to reconcile the two feuding families through their children's union, they are secretly married the next day. Meanwhile, tensions continue to run high between the Montagues and Capulets and a brawl results in Romeo slaying Tybalt Capulet, Juliet’s cousin. As a result, Romeo is exiled from Verona under penalty of death. Juliet grieves Romeos misfortune. Her father, misinterpreting her grief as being for her cousin’s death, decides to marry her to Count Paris to cheer her up and threatens to disown her when she refuses. Juliet visits Friar Laurence for help, and he offers her a potion that will put her into a temporary deathlike coma. The Friar promises to send a messenger to inform Romeo of the plan so that he can rejoin her when she awakens. She takes the drug. The messenge, however, does not reach Romeo and, instead, Romeo learns of Juliet's apparent death. Heartbroken, Romeo buys poison from an apothecary and goes to the Capulet crypt. Believing Juliet to be dead, he drinks the poison. Juliet then awakens and, discovering that Romeo is dead, stabs herself with his dagger and joins him in death. The feuding families meet at the tomb and Friar Laurence recounts the story of the two "star-cross'd lovers". The families are reconciled by their children's deaths and agree to end their violent feud. The play ends with the elegy for the lovers: "For never was a story of more woe / Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”
What if my partner and I drift into uncomfortable conversational territory or I want to stop playing?
If you wish to shift gears from the current conversational thread but keep playing the game, text your partner ‘YELLOW.’ If you wish to stop completely, text your partner ‘RED’ and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to relay your decision. All players must respect the wishes of their game partner. It takes two to play the game and one to end it.
If I want to share the progress of the game on social media, can I?
#rjgame Share responsibly.
Do I have to follow all the rules?
The rules are strong suggestions meant to enhance your gaming experience. That said, Shakespeare took artistic liberties and so can you.