Review: Seattle Repertory Theatre – Roz and Ray

Just as the central characters jump back and forth on a time-line in The Seattle Repertory Theater’s production of ‘Roz and Ray‘, emotions follow suit as we are bounced from hope to joy to tragedy. Though the staging is simple – the subject matter is complex in Karen Hartman’s tale of a progressive doctor and the father fighting for his twin sons future.

Roz and Ray at Seattle Repertory Theatre. Ellen McLaughlin as Dr Roz Kagen. Photo by Alabastro Photography.
Roz and Ray at Seattle Repertory Theatre. Ellen McLaughlin as Dr Roz Kagen. (Photo Credit:  Alabastro Photography)

As the program describes it, “The gripping untold story of one doctor’s ethical struggle at the onset of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Dr. Roz thinks she’s found the right cure in a new miracle drug for Ray Leon’s hemophiliac twins. However, unspeakable tragedy strikes and it is discovered that Ray’s sons face immediate danger.”

Roz and Ray at Seattle Repertory Theatre. Teagle F. Bougere (Ray) and Ellen McLaughlin (Roz). Photo by Alabastro Photography.
Roz and Ray at Seattle Repertory Theatre. Teagle F. Bougere (Ray) and Ellen McLaughlin (Roz). (Photo Credit:  Alabastro Photography)

Ellen McLaughlin (Roz) and  Teagle F. Bougere (Ray) command the stage and fill its stark space with the complications of the issues, their relationship and the bottom line of making the best choices for the twins given the best information and science of the time.

Roz and Ray at Seattle Repertory Theatre. Teagle F. Bougere as Ray Mendes. Photo by Alabastro Photography.
Roz and Ray at Seattle Repertory Theatre. Teagle F. Bougere as Ray Mendes. (Photo Credit: Alabastro Photography)

Knowing that hope-filled intention would be re-routed with the AIDS epidemic looming ahead, it was a tragic tale to watch unfold. It did inspire in-depth conversations about the intersection of medical and ethical boundaries – and for Ray and Roz – what were they best choices. Theatergoers will have to decide for themselves.

Playwright Karen Hartman is a Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington School of Drama. Read more about her work here.

Roz and Ray is on stage at the Leo K. Theatre through November 13th.

Brandwrangler. Movie buff. Tech geek. Dedicated to CrossFit. Love the Northwest and the variety of experiences and adventures living here provides. “Asking “Why?” can lead to understanding. Asking “Why not?” can lead to breakthroughs.” – Daniel Pink

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