Episode 10 - “It’s About Belonging”
In the final episode of the season of Under This Light, we discuss with director Rosa Joshi empathy, triumph over the lie of not knowing enough about Shakespeare, explore women taking power, cock strut, and receive a warning from Will himself.
Rosa Joshi is a theatre director, educator and producer. She loves working on Shakespeare and has directed productions for Seattle Shakespeare Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The Folger Theatre. She is currently on the faculty of Seattle University’s theatre program where she teaches directing and theatre history. As a founding member of upstart crow collective, a theatre company that produces classical plays with diverse all-female and non-binary casts, she is committed to reimagining classical texts for the 21st Century.
Lamar Legend (00:05):
You are listening to Under This Light, A Revelation of Shakespeare and Self brought to you by Seattle Shakespeare Company. I am your host Lamar Legend. Today we have Rosa Joshi. Rosa is a theater director, educator, and producer. She loves working on Shakespeare and has directed productions for Seattle Shakespeare Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the Folger Theater. She is currently on the faculty of Seattle University’s theater program, where she teaches directing and theater history. As a founding member of upstart crow collective, a theater company that produces classical plays with diverse all-female and non-binary casts, she is committed to re-imagining classical texts for the 21st century. I am happy to bring to the show today, Rosa.
Rosa Joshi (00:57):
Hello? Can I always have you read my bio like that? Everyone.
Lamar Legend (01:04):
I am happy to do it. I’ll I I’ll record it for you and you can just play it. <Laugh>
Rosa Joshi (01:10):
Sometimes love that you make me sound so fun. <Laugh>
Lamar Legend (01:17):
Cause you do cuz you are. So the way we do this, we always to the beginning. So will you tell us how, how did your relationship with theater begin
Rosa Joshi (01:27):
Theater? Oh, we’re going way back.
Lamar Legend (01:31):
Rosa Joshi (01:32):
Um you know, oh, you know, the very first play I was ever in was a really racist play <laugh>
Lamar Legend (01:43):
Oh my God.
Rosa Joshi (01:43):
It was,uand you know, I was in the equivalent of, I wanna say it was first grade. Uand we did,uthe Little Black Sambo, you know, spinning into butter. Oh my
Lamar Legend (02:00):
Gosh. Why? Okay. Okay. Okay.
Rosa Joshi (02:03):
Okay. But I knew nothing cuz what? Oh, was I six, seven years old? And I was sure I was a ti I was one of the tigers.
Lamar Legend (02:11):
So let’s, let’s give this context for our listeners. First of all, where were you location wise on a map. And then also will you explain tell us the plot of, and the history of this.
Rosa Joshi (02:29):
I was in Scotland cuz I grew up partly in the UK and Scotland until I was about 10. And you know, what I remember is Little Black Sambo goes out he’s on his way home or something. He runs into the, these different tigers. He, he spins into it’s the spinning into butter. I do not actually remember. I just remember thinking about it later, you know, and thinking, whoa, I was in the, I had no idea what I was doing, right. Oh actually before that it’s all coming back to me, Lamar, the first thing I was in was telling the parable of the good Samaritan. I was the narrator. We did these, this was in, this was in Liverpool before I went to Scotland. So that was actually the first thing. I have not thought about this in a very long time. <Laugh>
Rosa Joshi (03:32):
That was the fir and it, yeah, we told parables out of the Bible and I go, how is that possibe? But somehow in my school that was the play. It was the school play. And I remember actually being really pleased because I, I had, I was the narrator, like I got to read this story, but I look back and I go, oh, I also just thought I was Christian until I was almost nine. Cause I didn’t really understand that I wasn’t Christian cuz everything and everyone around me was Christian. Right. Right. And I remember thinking that my parents were maybe going to hell because I knew that they worshiped idols at home cuz my parents are Hindu. Ah, so like yeah, I had a, a very confused,uor, or just complicated relationship with culture.
Lamar Legend (04:59):
The story of, of the Little Black Sambo. I believe it’s part of no, no, no, no. I, I remember it’s part of a collection. I believe of books by is her name Banner? Hold on now I’m gonna look it up, Helen. I’m looking it up too. Helen Bannerman. So the, the story is that this little black boy is got, all of his is supposed to go and get take his geese some place I think to market or something like that. Yeah. And he runs into these four very hungry tigers who are going to eat him. And he gets out of his like clothes, cuz he’s like nicely dressed or whatever. And they become, and they’re like really vain. They’re really like, we wanna wear your clothes. And so then they, right. They get into a big fight. The four tigers get into a big fight because they think that one is, they think that one is better dressed than the other or something like that. And they,
Rosa Joshi (05:58):
They, they run around the tree. They are running around a tree really, really fast mm-hmm <affirmative> and they spin into gee.
Lamar Legend (06:06):
Into butter. Yep. Yeah. They, they become reductive reducted into butter <laugh> and then the boy runs home and, and makes pancakes or something like that I believe. Yeah.
Rosa Joshi (06:20):
So I don’t know whether it’s race, you know, like I have it, it is right. Well, I just remember it
Lamar Legend (06:26):
Is, it is it, it is. It’s part of a racist cult racist history. And in that, that one it’s a, it was created by a a white woman <laugh> who created these very the pictures in the book are very, you
Rosa Joshi (06:41):
Know, that’s what I remember. Yeah.
Lamar Legend (06:43):
Yeah. It’s it’s it is, these are racist depictions.
Rosa Joshi (06:46):
Depictions. Yeah. Yeah.
Lamar Legend (06:50):
So you’re not wrong. You’re right on there. <Laugh> but you were, this was your first introduction, one of your first introductions to theater. Yeah. You were a performer at six years old.
Rosa Joshi (07:00):
Yeah. But then I, I didn’t do very much after, after that I until until really high school.
Lamar Legend (07:10):
So did you take to it, like, what was it, first of all, how did you get involved? Did you just do it because you were in a community, you know, cause that where all the kids were doing it or were your parents like, oh gosh, she’s just always on her feet. We should do something with this energy. Or, or did you see it? No,
Rosa Joshi (07:27):
Those were just school plays. Right? They were, they were like one was in a class and one was for the, yeah, they were both in classes. We were doing plays. And so I did I that and then I really, when I think about it, I didn’t do anything again until high school. No, no, no. My parents did not put me in theater because that was culturally not a thing. I was supposed to be a doctor. It was all about the science is. And I actually asked to be, to do the play when I was in I was 14, I think, or 15. And I asked and you know, it was a deal because it was after school and somebody would have to pick me up, you know, <affirmative>, it, it, it wasn’t it wasn’t a given part of my education or upbringing mm-hmm <affirmative> so I came to it late, you know?
Rosa Joshi (08:32):
No, I wasn’t, I wasn’t a theater kid <laugh> I wouldn’t describe myself that way. And I also, as a result, I never thought of myself as super creative, that was never something that was that was praised in my family necessarily to be creative was not something that was seen. You know, in fact, even when I became a theater artist and it took me a long time to think of myself as a creative person, I thought I was good at directing cuz I was analytical. Ah, you know, I thought, oh, okay. I didn’t, it took me a long time to call myself an artist and to consider that I was a creative person. And I think that probably has to do with what was valued. And, and I, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Right. Like my parents were immigrants. They were trying to make a life that was better. Yeah. Or their kids. And that meant being in the sciences and you know, I was supposed to be a doctor
Lamar Legend (09:43):
So that you can support yourself and your family.
Rosa Joshi (09:45):
Yeah. And it was a respected profession and my father was a doctor. And you know, I, I bet if there are listeners who are of south Asian descent, they will relate to that idea that, of course you’re gonna be a doctor, if you can be a doctor like that is the, you know, that that’s thought to be sort of was in my family. Like the best thing you could be
Lamar Legend (10:26):
Now take us to high school. So what, how did you rekindle that relationship with theater?
Rosa Joshi (10:35):
I just I, I auditioned for a play and I had a small role and I just really I really loved… Not performing necessarily, but being part of the community mm-hmm <affirmative> I was never like I have to be on stage and performing and that, but I really loved the community or the, the, the sense of belonging to a tribe. And then I was actually cast in a lead role in Jean Anouilh’s Antigone. Mm. So like yeah, I played Antigone, I was 15, all of 15 years old, which probably she was close to that age. That character, yeah.
Lamar Legend (11:38):
I would say so I was like, oh, that sounds right on the money. That’s usually never the case <laugh>.
Rosa Joshi (11:44):
And so and again, it was that sense of community and, you know, we made this, we built the sets in our high school and we did everything and and so yeah, so I, you know, I came into it through performance for sure. And then college is where I, I was gonna say university is where I, I really started to do a lot more theater again, it started in an extracurricular way and I was like, I’ll just do props or anything. You know, I was a little freshman and I was super intimidated and I did props, I did costumes, I did a lot of stuff. And then I took a directing class and I was like, oh, the is, I think this is what I’m really interested in. And I think, but I do think that I didn’t pursue performance partly because I didn’t, I, it was I didn’t see anyone that looked like me in the plays.
Rosa Joshi (12:50):
Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I, and we did plays like Cat on a Hot Roof and Crimes of the Heart. And I was like, nobody told me not to audition. Right. But I looked at it and go thought to myself, well, I can’t be anybody’s mother or sister or daughter. Mm. And so I thought, well, I, I just won’t, I won’t audition. I, I did an audition I’m I don’t regret not being a performer. Right. but I’ve, it’s always sort of stayed with me because it was very much self. It, it was, I internalized, right. It was internalized depression. Right, right. We all do it. I internalized what I was seeing in the culture around me. Nobody said, don’t come and audition outright. Right. Yeah. But I was like, I, oh, I can’t audition for that. And I didn’t actually think like, Hey, why are there no plays for me? <Laugh>, mm-hmm, mm-hmm <affirmative> right. I didn’t have the agency at that age, at that time in my life to think that. And so I, it makes me, it makes me really happy that my students, you know, I teach at Seattle University and my, my students wanna know where the roles are for them, you know? And I, and that is progress, right.
Lamar Legend (14:19):
That is progress. There’s also more representation available to them now than there was for you.
Rosa Joshi (14:25):
Yeah. That’s, you know, very much part of it now. I’m really glad I became a director and I, I I didn’t really wanna be a performer. Like, it’s not like I, I lost a dream or something. Right. <laugh> mm-hmm <affirmative>, but it, it has always stayed with me cuz, and it has stayed with me because I think, okay. I know if I felt that way, there are a lot of other people that felt that way. And there are people today who feel that way, you know, mm-hmm <affirmative>
Lamar Legend (14:56):
Do you think that, I mean, well, you know, also it sounds like that what you did do, even though you didn’t have, you said you didn’t have the agency then, you know, to be like, Hey, why aren’t these roles available or why aren’t they telling these stories? You know? And I can so that I can see myself in them, you get had the agency and the wherewithal and the fortitude and also the, you know, a bit of inner genius to go like, well, directing, I can be a visionary of and a conceptualist on how to reframe these stories. And you’ve made your life about that.
Rosa Joshi (15:37):
Yeah. You know, interestingly, the one show that I did do in college that I was in mainstage show was Hamlet was a Shakespeare. And I was the player queen. Because for some reason in my head I was like, well, I can be in that because I think probably I had seen, you know non-traditional as they called it casting, you know, in Shakespeare plays. So there was that. And so and directing was this way in which I could occupy all the spaces <laugh> if that makes sense. Oh, of course. Like the spaces that weren’t a available to me, perhaps in, in how I present in the world, I could Def I could still occupy those spaces as a director and have an effect on the story as a director. So I think, yeah, I think being able to see being able to carve a place for yourself, however you can, I don’t know. It’s also, I really loved it. Lamar <laugh> <laugh> I think I just, you know, I don’t think I was like, oh, I’ll do this because I can’t, you know, do what I really want. I just fell in love with directing. Mm. So I think definitely I found my passion. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm
Lamar Legend (17:11):
<Affirmative> now. Well, we’ll get to Shakespeare <laugh> so taking us back you mentioned that there was what you, you also fell in love with was community, was the community of the theater was that because you came from a family that was huge where there was also a sense of tribe or was there a lack of it, a dearth of it, so that it, you gravitated towards like how, where did that gravity, that attraction to the, to the community aspect of theater begin, like where did, how did that happen?
Rosa Joshi (17:49):
That’s a great question. I think it’s a sense of belonging, cuz I never felt like I belonged when I was growing up because I was the kid of immigrants we were living in England. There was a lot of pretty much outright racism, you know, like there was I like to say there was nothing micro about it and nothing latent about it <laugh> it was pretty macro and pretty blatant. And so I’ve always, I think that has definitely defined who I am as a person is the sense of, of understanding what it is to be an outsider, what it is and what it is to be other, right. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, mm-hmm, <affirmative> what it is to be. Other is something that I’ve always experienced and always kept even when I’ve belonged now. And theater is a place where I found that I was, gave me a sense of belonging, the first place. I think that where I really, really felt that sense of belonging.
Lamar Legend (19:01):
Let’s take us back to Shakespeare. So you mentioned Hamlet was something you played Hamlet, <laugh> the player queen, right? The player queen. So sorry. And so but you had experience with Shakespeare before you, you kind of casually mentioned that you had seen Shakespeare productions or Shakespeare had been an area in which even though you may not have been represented, you had more freedom to play, whoever you wanted or more people did in terms of cast. Yeah. So when did you, when were you introduced to Shakespeare? Like what could you, can you remember like the first time you were introduced to a Shakespeare play?
Rosa Joshi (19:49):
Yeah, it was middle school. The equivalent of middle schools. I was in, it was while I was in Kuwait and it was part of the curriculum and we worked on The Tempest and really learned that play in class for a couple years. And I had, you know, I had a really great teacher and I think this, I think, you know, I’m teaching a, a, a, a, it’s not a Shakespeare class. It’s an acting three class right now in at Seattle U. And we were actually just talking about this at, in the first class, like, how did you come across Shakespeare? And you know, of course a lot of us came across it, part of the curriculum. And it’s fascinating to me how a teacher can make all the difference in your experience at that age with Shakespeare. And I happen to have a really fantastic teacher, Phil Climber, who you know, we read the plays out loud, we did scenes. I got to see him in a production of The Tempest. He played Ferdinand, I think that was being produced somewhere. And so that sort of approach to the text as something that was living and that lived in, in our bodies and in space and in time I think really drew me to the work. Right. Because of course it was, it was not easy to understand otherwise outside of that. But I just, I kind of fell in love with Shakespeare, as you know of. I must have been like 14
Lamar Legend (21:42):
<Laugh> what a perfect age.
Rosa Joshi (21:47):
And yeah. And so, but I, and I took a lot of classes in in university at I took, you know, I, I took a Shakespeare class. I took a Shakespeare in film class. So I, I, I took a lot of English, analytical classes, literature classes. And then I was in that Hamlet, but I just felt like, oh, I can’t really do this because I felt like, I don’t know why actually. Well, I do. I felt like I didn’t know enough to do these plays, like to actually to, to work on them. I felt like, oh, they’re too hard. I they’re people who know a lot more than me know how to do this. And I don’t. And I think it’s really interesting to me cuz I, I took a, a, so an advanced acting class as, and I chose Greek plays cuz I was like, I can’t do that Shakespeare thing. Somehow thinking that Greek plays were gonna be easier. <Laugh> like, I’ll do a Greek play as a, my classical play because that’s gonna be easier than Shakespeare. Right. you, but that’s how intimidated I was by the thought of doing Shakespeare.
Lamar Legend (23:16):
And when, when did that change for you? Because clearly you’ve become a champion.
Rosa Joshi (23:21):
Yeah. You know, I, I think so. I, I was a out of, out of undergrad. I got an internship at as a stage manager actually at the Julliard school. And so then I was, which was doing, you know, Julliard was a place of, of classical work very much so. And so then I was in rehearsal, watching people do the work and watching directors and actors. And I just started to just listen and, and picking started to pick up stuff that way and, and realized I really, really wanna know how, how to do this. And I really love this. So I started to to just self educate, if that makes sense. I just started to try and find out as much as I could. I, I assisted a director off at Theater for a New Audience. Yes. Is that Theater for a New Audience?
Rosa Joshi (24:28):
Oh yeah. I worked on a production. I was an assistant director on a production of Romeo and Juliet. I was directed by Bill Alexander, who was an RSC director and I just remembered I would to ask him questions afterwards. Like I didn’t, I, I, I didn’t know from, ambic pentameter at this point still. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> like, I, I, I, and this is something I, I talked to my students about also is that I, I think sometimes we’re intimidated by this language were intimidated by the work because we think there’s some, because we don’t have access to technique. Right. We’re intimidated because we think, oh, there are people who can do this, who know how to do this and it’s not us and it’s too hard or it’s, and, and it’s, it’s just about demystifying technique.
Lamar Legend (25:40):
We’re gonna shift gears or we’re gonna leap into the future a little bit. Will you tell us about the genesis of upstart crow?
Rosa Joshi (25:49):
Yeah. Well, the, the origin myth <laugh> is actually is not, does not belong to me. It belongs to Kate Wisnewski and Betsy Schwartz. So so the way I was introduced is they came to me and asked me if I would direct. And if I was interested in directing an all-female production of a Shakespeare play and nobody was asking me to direct Shakespeare plays. I mean, I had a full-time job as, as at a university, I had two small kids. I also wasn’t asking anybody, will you let me direct a Shakespeare play? But the, how, how it had originated for them is that they had been doing a show together at TAG to Tacoma Acto’r’s Guild, which sadly no longer exists when they’d been driving down. And they had been bemoaning the fact that there were so few roles for women, you know, in any se any given season, right.
Rosa Joshi (26:54):
Of a sh of a Shakespeare company, you know, they were auditioning for the same four roles, right. They never got to be in plays together or rarely. So, so, and I think Seattle Shakespeare Company had done an all male Taming of the Shrew. So I, I, what I think is so fantastic is that, you know, instead of of just saying, oh, this sucks and complaining and leaving it there, they said, well, let’s do something about this. And they decided let’s produce, let’s produce an all female production. And so they, they took agency again, that word that I think is so important for artists, you know, like, oh, it doesn’t exist. Okay. Let me do something about that and, and make it so, right. And, and I’d always like, my background is I’d produced my own work before, again, no, one’s hiring you as a director, so you just make your own work.
Rosa Joshi (28:06):
Right. so we did King John as an equity members project code which is this co project code equity allows members to produce their own work. And everybody worked, you know, for a split of the box office. And we we got incredible actors to be in the show because there was a real hunger for the work right. For the opportunity. And that when we first did it, we had no idea what it was gonna be like. Right. <laugh> it was an experiment like I didn’t, I didn’t necessarily have an agenda of I knew that it was going to be interesting and I’ve always, I think had a feminist approach to work, whether I’ve been aware of it or not. And so I, that was always going to be there. But I was really curious to see what would happen and it was fascinating to see women take on power and it was fascinating to see how how male behavior stood out in a completely different way, because there were a bunch of women on stage portraying men, if that makes sense, like some, oh yeah, there are parts.
Rosa Joshi (29:43):
We do a lot of the history plays. And there are parts where I sort of label the, you know, what’s going on the scene and, and it’s amazing to me how often I write cock strutting. Like, they’re just, that’s what these men are doing. Right. and, and when women perform gender, right. Cause the other thing that became really clear was the performativity of gender. And how we’re, what’s interesting about the way that we look at gender and Shakespeare is that we, we don’t play in drag we’ve, that’s something that we say we don’t, I, I don’t talk to the actors about, okay, you’re, you’re playing a man now, so lower your voice and walk a certain way. And we talk about I instead, what, who the character is. So we always start from a place of a playing the charact as honestly and authentically as possible.
Rosa Joshi (30:48):
But what we do talk about is what it means to be socialized, to be male in the world, what it means to have grown up with a certain kind of privilege and with an expectation that you can take up a certain amount of space. And, you know, I’ll, I’ll often say like, what would it be like if you had been raised to believe that your opinion always mattered, that the things that, that people would listen to you, and that has, that is the shift that I find UN that unlocks character for women and non-binary people because we expanded from being all female in the last, I, I, I wanna say it’s been in the last six years to including non-binary people also in our cast
Rosa Joshi (31:56):
Who I am in the room with a bunch of women and non-binary people working on Shakespeare is so different than who I was in the room. When I was mostly in a room with men, I would be one of three or four women talk about that. It was just the way it was supposed to, not the way it was supposed to be. It’s just the way it was Lamar. Right? Like if I wanted to work on these plays, I had accepted again, like I had, I had thought when I was younger, well, that’s not for me. I was like, okay, I wanna work on these plays. I’m gonna have to be in these rooms. And it’s, it just seemed very normal to me. And it wasn’t until I worked on King John with upstart crow that I realized, oh, wow, wait a second. You’ve been acting like you have no agency or control or, or power. And actually you’re a director and yes, you’re a director for hire. But if, as a producer, you actually can change the space and you perhaps have a responsibility to change the space. I mean, what the heck are you doing? Just accepting the space as it is and perpetuating the space. So it was sort of like holding myself accountable and saying, oh, actually you’re a gatekeeper.
Rosa Joshi (33:28):
Just as much as anyone else in this, in this field. Now that’s not to be super harsh on myself cuz I was just trying to get work. Right. I was just trying to be seen. And I was just trying to prove that I could do this work as well as any other white man out there. Right. Mm mm-hmm <affirmative> but when I changed that, who was in the space, I realized how different I was in the space. So
Lamar Legend (33:59):
How did you start showing up?
Rosa Joshi (34:04):
I started not to worry as much about my authority in the space about proving my authority in the space. I found that I didn’t have to as much. Wow. I didn’t have to like, you know what? I didn’t have to go into a room and go okay, where are the threats? Where are the threats? I know where the threats are. Okay. I’m ready for those threats. I mean, it’s probably something that a lot of people can relate to and a lot of artists of color can relate to and women and women of color. Right? Like you, you, you go in and you’re like, okay, I know this person or might question my authority or my knowledge or these kinds of things might come at me. So how am I gonna be prepared for that? And it’s not even conscious necessarily. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, mm-hmm <affirmative> we just carry that with us. But when I was in a space where I didn’t have that as much, I was like, oh, oh, this is a way that I can be. And then I started to think, well, this is great. Why is it that I can only be this person in this space actually, what would happen if I took this person and said, actually I get to be this person in every space. Right. I’m gonna like what if I go in and with what I’ve with, with what this space has given me, I now can take that out into the world.
Lamar Legend (35:42):
Rosa Joshi (35:44):
And and be that person elsewhere. And what would it be like if I decided not to expect a threat, not like that. It’s not there, but just not be like, have, have that extra weight and just go in like fully holding the confidence of who I am and what I can do and what I bring
Lamar Legend (36:15):
And now to excite your curiosity, and in the spirit of infusing the world with more joy, I present to you some magic questions. If you could master one skill that you don’t already have, what would that be?
Rosa Joshi (36:31):
I would be a dancer I would full on if I could like, just, if you could turn me into a dance, like dancer, like with in incredible physical skills, that’s what I would be. Wow.
Lamar Legend (36:47):
Why is that? Why dance?
Rosa Joshi (36:49):
I always wanted to dance when I was a kid. I really wanted to take dance lessons, ballet lessons, and my mother she’ll she’ll off. She’ll say, I’m so sorry. I couldn’t do that. You know, she couldn’t take me to, to lessons. She couldn’t take me the, we couldn’t afford them probably. And she literally couldn’t take me. She couldn’t drive, you know, so I never got to, and it’s always been something that I’ve, I’ve loved and I’ve thought like, oh, if I could, if, if, if I could do anything or if I could have been something like, I, I, I don’t think I wanted to be an, a, an actor, but I, I think I might have loved being a dancer.
Lamar Legend (37:35):
Hmm. Okay. will you tell us about a time when you saved a life?
Rosa Joshi (37:45):
Well, I literally saved a life once, but I don’t think I wanna talk about that, honestly.
Lamar Legend (37:50):
That’s totally fine. Yeah.
Rosa Joshi (37:52):
I think, you know, for their privacy privacy. Oh, for sure. You know what I mean? Time when I saved a life, let me think about this. Okay. Well, I’ll answer the question this way. I mean, I don’t know whether this is about saving someone’s physical life, but I have had two artists say to me, one who one who said seeing the work of upstart crow made them realize that there was, was a place for them in Shakespeare. And so I feel like perhaps somehow how I may have saved a creative life because they felt that they could be seen and that they could belong in an art form that they loved.
Lamar Legend (38:50):
That’s absolutely true. I believe that, oh my God. Yes. It’s. So open your imagination if you will. We’re about to go into the future. Coming out of the pandemic theater sees a Renaissance, like, as it turns out our hopes we’re we’re founded, you know, mm-hmm <affirmative> that people actually really want to be together now because they can and music festivals are huge. People are packing theaters when, before the pandemic, you know ticket prices were going down in terms of cinema attendance and in, and live theater performances of plays and musicals are achieving rockstar status. Upstart crow in this becomes wildly successful so much so that the collective becomes the first theater company to grace the cover of Rolling Stone <laugh> and you have celebrities, celebrities like Cate Blanchett and Uzo Aduba begging to become company members, but on one night you receive a frighteningly real visit from the ghost of will Shakespeare. I mean, it is so real that if you told this to anyone, no one would believe you. And in this vision, this visit, he only says this to you, stop this, or I will take it from the world. What do you do?
Rosa Joshi (40:39):
Oh, it was clearly my psyche. Just like, you know, your dreams are your wishes and fears. That, that was totally my, my fear dream.
Lamar Legend (40:49):
Rosa Joshi (40:50):
<Laugh> this where my psych I’m, I’m just going do a, do a side pass on this and just, yeah. Give it the all Freud. And that was my, that was my fear speaking. I don’t, I would be like, that definitely was not a real visit. That was me manifesting my fear through the, the, the spirit of William Shakespeare, because I don’t think he would say that. Mm,
Rosa Joshi (41:20):
I love that. I just refused to believe that the person who could imagine these worlds would want to keep anyone from doing the work from being, from being in the work. Right. I think, I, I think he, I think that person would want this to reach as many PE I mean, he was an, he was also like if, if we believe some of those, the sonnets and some, right, like he, he thought quite a bit of himself too. So wouldn’t he want mm-hmm <affirmative> as many people to like, wouldn’t it, wouldn’t it be thrilling to think, oh, look what, look what they did. We did it it with all men and now women are doing it right. Women and non, you know, and women and people who don’t even identify as any gender are doing it. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> look what, look what’s happening.
Rosa Joshi (42:29):
That’s that’s what I, I, I would think, I don’t think I, I would think, oh, that’s just your fear talking as an artist. And because we sh everyone should get to do this work if they want to, is what I believe. Lamar. I also believe that you don’t have to want to do this work. And that is totally fine. <Laugh> I don’t think that Shakespeare, I don’t actually think that Shakespeare is the, be all in the end. All of everything that is excellent or that is proves that you have arrived as an artist, or that is, that tells the holistic and whole experience of humanity. I actually don’t think that I think it’s a very Western way of telling stories, and that is my education and my, you know, cultural back I was raised in the west. And so these stories speak to me as, as stories of, of humanity, but they are a very specific humanity.
Rosa Joshi (43:52):
Right. and so I don’t actually think that these plays have to be for everyone, but I do think they can be for everyone. And that’s a, I think that’s a very important distinction. I believe that everyone should be welcome into them and should be able to find themselves in it if they want to. Right. That, that we should welcome everybody into these plays, but I don’t think, I think the worst thing we can do is tell everyone that this is what they should love. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> why, why do we insist upon that? I don’t think that’s, I think you should love whatever kind of art you love. I happen to love Shakespeare, and I would like to welcome as many people into the work as possible because part of being an artist for me is sharing my passion with people and, and welcoming them into that passion. So I kind of sidestep to your question perhaps, but that’s just my own stubbornness. I would refuse to believe it.
Lamar Legend (45:07):
Oh, I don’t think you side stepped it at all. Like these, these questions are up for interpretation and what I love about that answer, that was a beautiful answer. Is that you just called bullshit? Like, <laugh> like, I would’ve done the same. No, no, no, no. I mean, no lie. I would’ve called. I would’ve been like, you’re not the ghost. No, no, right. There’s no such I don’t, I, I actually believe in spirit, but I would’ve been like, that’s not, it, that’s not it. I know my own shadow. And that is the face of it. That’s all that is <laugh> AB
Rosa Joshi (45:39):
Absolutely. Absolutely. and yeah, I, I, would’ve just said that is a manifestation of my own anxiety and I don’t need to listen to that. <Laugh>
Lamar Legend (45:58):
Okay. Final question. When you die, because we all will, if people forget
Rosa Joshi (46:05):
Oh. Way to go dark on me, Lamar. Okay, go
Lamar Legend (46:09):
Kidding. So if people forget everything about you, what’s the one thing you want them to remember?
Rosa Joshi (46:20):
Rosa Joshi (46:29):
You know, it’s interesting. I would L people, people that’s like a very general all thing, right. That assumes that people, that the larger public would care. And I guess like, I, I really, what I would, what I would want to be remembered. Fred I’d want my children to remember me and remember their mother and remember and hopefully remember me as someone who did their best as their mother. I think that would be really the thing that I think about the most is the people who I would want to be remembered by the people I loved and who loved me.
Lamar Legend (47:17):
That’s great. Thank you, Rosa.
Rosa Joshi (47:22):
Thank you, Lamar. This was fun.
Lamar Legend (47:49):
Thank you for listening to Under This Light, A Revelation of Shakespeare and Self. The series is a project of Seattle Shakespeare Company. If you enjoyed this discussion and would like to learn more about Seattle Shakespeare Company’s productions and programs, please visit seattleshakespeare.org. We’d love to hear from you. Seattle Shakespeare is located on lands, taken from the Duwamish Stillaguamish, Muckleshoot Suquamish and all coast Salish people. And we pay respect to them as this region’s original storytellers. The music you hear in this episode is provided and composed by Stephon Dorsey artwork for our series was created by Marla Bonner, I’m host and producer Lamar legend. And we’ll be back in two weeks with another episode. So subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts, give us your hands. If we be friends and Lamar shall restore amends.