On Tuesday, February 14, the cast of Drum and Colours: Henry IV gathered together for the first time with the production team to hear about the designs for the show and do a first readthrough.
Henry IV is a continuation of the Drum and Colours project that was first launched in winter of 2022 with presentations of Hamlet and As You Like It in repertory. Furthering the work of previous projects like the Shakespeare Equity Engagement program (SEE) and the Holding Space project, Drum and Colours aims to meet the community’s needs with an all-BIPOC company with 360-degree representation, including actors, directors, and production team. It explores BIPOC company members’ personal connections to the classics and sheds new light on familiar works. SSC believes that art that is open—to adaptation, interpretation, and the recognition of the wonderful vastness of the human experience—is stronger and more long-lasting than art which ignores that complexity.
“Growing up in New Mexico I wasn’t often offered a chance to see Shakespeare,” said Diversity Programs Associate Pilar O’Connell. “When I did see it, it always seemed untouchable; like there was never a place for me in the work of what many believe to be ‘The World’s Greatest Playwright.’ What I saw on stage told me: I was not white enough, femme enough, skinny enough, smart enough. For many years of my career I tried to remove pieces of myself in order to fit into the cannon. It never worked. Why isn’t everyone welcome to the table as their whole self? My answer to those questions? Gatekeeping, colonization, fear of change, and a fear of the individual experience beyond our own. As we welcome you to our 2023 Drum and Colours production of Henry IV, We invite you to join us, the Drum and Colours company, in dismantling these practices.”
Check out some photos from that first day!