‘The Accidental Kiss’ Depicts Modern Day Reincarnations of Romeo and Juliet

“The Accidental Kiss” written and directed by Chima Chikazunga, tells the story of two people struggling to find themselves. One is doing this through sobriety, the other through substance abuse, but they soon discover they have much more in common than just their forbidden love of the empty bottle. The play will have its world premiere August 30 to September 6 as part of Theater for the New City’s 2015 Dream Up Festival.

The play takes place in an abandoned theater. We meet Chauncey, a 26-year-old black American male who is an actor struggling to find himself. He has been sober for three years but must constantly fight the urge to “pick up.” He is driven by his love for Clarista, a 23-year-old successful film actress who is in New York City for her new film. She is a substance abuser, smoker, and seductress who knows how to use sex as a weapon.

The play begins with Clarista handcuffed to a radiator. She has no idea how she got there and only Chauncey can fill in the blanks. Each needs the other in some way, and we start to learn that Chauncey knows a surpising amount about who Clarista is, down to her favorite color. As Clarista goes in and out of consciousness, recovering from a night of drinking, she slowly pieces together what happened and realizes Chauncey drugged, assaulted, and kidnapped her. Her terror and horror are counteracted by Chauncey’s unflinching love for her. He is certain they are the modern day reincarnations of Romeo and Juliet, and he works to convince her that he killed himself as Romeo so he could come find her in another life, this life. Clarista struggles to decide whether Chauncey is crazy or whether he holds the secret to understanding who she is.

Chima Chikazunga (playwright and director), a native New Yorker, graduated from Florida State University. He has had two other plays in the Dream Up Festival: “Sophies Sweet 16” (2013) and “For Chance” (2014).

The cast features Chima Chikazunga and Josette Dwyer.

The sixth Dream Up Festival (www.dreamupfestival.org) will be presented by Theater for the New City (TNC) from August 30 to September 20, 2015, offering a lineup of wide-ranging and original theatrical visions embracing drama, musicals, improv, aerial and more. This year, owing to growing popularity, the festival has expanded beyond its primary venue. Previously, all productions were presented at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. This year, 19 productions will be presented at TNC and seven will be presented at an outside venue, The Producers Club Theaters at 358 West 44th Street.

The festival is dedicated to new works. TNC feels this festival is especially needed now in a time of declining donations to the arts, when grants are not being awarded due to market conditions and arts funding is being cut across the country and abroad. The festival aims to push ideas to the forefront through imaginative presentations so as to challenge audience expectations and make us question our understanding of the way art illuminates the world around us.

The show is presented by Theater for the New City (Crystal Field, Artistic Director) as part of the Dream Up Festival 2015 from August 30 to September 7. Performances are August 30 at 2:00 PM, August 31 at 6:30 PM, September 1 at 6:30 PM, September 2 at 6:30 PM, September 3 at 9:00 PM, September 4 at 6:30 PM, September 5 at 8:00 PM, September 6 at 5:00 PM, September 7 at 6:30 PM at Theater for the New City (Cabaret Theater), 155 First Ave. Tickets are $15. The Box office is (212) 254-1109. You can find more information and purchase tickets at www.dreamupfestival.org.