This experiment in community engagement was a first for American Moor AND for my director, Kim Weild and me. Southern Shakespeare Company is a small Shakespeare Company in Tallahassee, Florida with a focus on education. Not so small it seems, however, to stop them from taking an interest in American Moor, and rallying the resources to bring us to Florida for a week of work.
With the FAMU Essential Theatre students
Their partners in this endeavor were several. Most prominently Florida A&M University played host to our rehearsals and performances in their Lee Hall Auditorium. While there we met and worked with college students from FAMU’s Essential Theatre Program, as well as with eleven-, twelve-, and thirteen-year-olds from Southern Shakespeare’s youth company called The Bardlings. We also met some wonderful people in the greater Tallahassee community when we attended an event hosted by Village Square, a non-partisan public educational forum. Their event was called “Created Equal,” and sought to stimulate constructive dialogue around matters of race and race relations. We were busy…
The production team: (from left) director Kim Weild; stage tech – Felix Anitra, and Nile; (front) publicist Pamela Daniels.
We had not had a concerted period of rehearsal for quite some time. Most of the recent outings for American Moor have been of the one-off model, where we quickly mount the show in a venue, do it, and go home. This was an experiment in residence, where we had several days to work, eat, drink, acquaint ourselves, and communicate with smart, engaging, theatre-loving people who believed in the work of this play as much as we did and do.
We played two performances to houses of about 500 people each night. Even this many years in, the post-performance responses from always diverse audience members astound me.
Reception at Meek-Eaton Black Archives
There is always some perspective or thought that someone will share that I’ve never heard before. Each new endeavor brings discovery.
Here are as many pictures from the week as it makes any kind of sense to stuff into a single blog post. There really isn’t a whole lot else to say but “Thank you.”
At Village Square’s “Created Equal” event: (from left) Southern Shakespeare Company Executive Director Laura Johnson, me, and director Kim Weild.
With noted writer and attorney, Chuck Hobbs, on stage at “Created Equal,” the Village Square event in Tallahassee.