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Listen as Black actors across the nation explore the truth in the painful reality of being Black in America with Shakespearean text. Timeless words that were never intended for us, yet the notion "To Be or Not To Be" carries infinite weight throughout Black American history.
We call on America to listen with empathy and to act in alliance with Black Lives Matter.
This Nation possesses power that will remain latent until we unlock its truths.
For our eighth week, we challenge you to interpret and share:
Act Three, Scene One
WATCH: Check out the video from Kimber Elayne Sprawl for inspiration on this page.
CREATE: Get inspired. Act, sing, rewrite, translate, paint, dance – whatever moves you.
CAPTURE: Record a video or snap a photo of your work.
SHARE: Post your interpretation and share it with us and challenge your friends! Tag @PublicTheaterNY on Twitter and Instagram or @publictheater on Facebook, and be sure to use the hashtag #BraveNewShakespeare.
By William Shakespeare
Act Three, Scene One
To be or not to be—that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer.....
Read the full passage here.
Acto Tres, Escena Primera
Por William Shakespeare
Traduccion por Ángel-Luis Pujante
Ser o no ser, esa es la cuestión:
si es más noble para el alma soportar
TO BE, OR NOT TO BE, THAT IS THE QUESTION:
As HAMLET contemplates the value of life, I am led to compare BLACK MEN in America and the world, as so many Hamlets.
In this time of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the wearing of masks, the washing of hands, the social distancing, the total upending of the world, with the police brutality against BLACK MEN and BLACK WOMEN, and the cry for racial justice and the world-wide movement, BLACK LIVES MATTER, makes me see a replication of Shakespeare’s HAMLET.
"Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them.
Metaphorically, BLACK MEN and BLACK WOMEN suffer the…outrageous fortune outlined above, and taking arms against the sea of troubles, Ends in defeat.
“To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is Heir to.”
BLACK MEN and BLACK WOMEN take their own lives less than the major groups. Social distancing, seems preternatural, out of the ordinary, abnormal, and in a strange way seems to reflect the seperation, the segregation of the races. The washing of the hands has its own classic meaning for all.
There is something transcendent about HAMLET in a secular way. He is challenged by so much that he contemplates what reality means to him. A variety of realities confront BLACK MEN and BLACK WOMEN.
As a BLACK MAN, in America having spent more than six decades teaching, supervising, acting, directing students from Kindergarten through college and university, in this country and internationally. I have faith and hope, and for 95 years I have, Taken arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing have tried to end them.
BLACK MEN and BLACK WOMEN are so many HAMLETS.
“There's the respect That makes calamity of so long life.”
Men and women are living longer than in the past, and senior residences of all varieties are almost as numerous as favorite fast-food businesses.
“For who would bear the whips and scorn of time”… Are these senior residences meeting the needs of the seniors?
“To be, or not to be” … ?
“Who would…grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourne
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all” … ?
TO BE, OR NOT TO BE, THAT IS THE QUESTION?