Last Friday at 9:00am, members of our community braved the early morning rain to gather with SF Shakes actors and staff at the Bayview Opera House. We then spent the next hour or so reading selections aloud from the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, civil rights speeches, famous modern poems…and, of course, Shakespeare.
We’re so proud that the event was such a success, and we can’t thank everyone enough for coming to read with us. The event meant a lot to our company, and you can hear that in the introduction written by SF Shakes’ Artistic Director Rebecca Ennals:
Welcome, dear friends and community members. I know that today is an emotional day for many reasons, and it was important to us at SF Shakes to provide a forum for us to raise our voices, here, in a beautiful theatre, and remind ourselves of what we love about our country and fellow human beings.
On January 10, 2017, in his farewell address, President Barack Obama said “Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power – with our participation, and the choices we make.”
In that spirit, we thought it would be thought-provoking and inspiring to read selected passages from our Constitution, accompanied by scenes and speeches from Shakespeare and great American figures that seemed relevant to us. In no way do we wish to cover up and whitewash the fact that these words mean different things to different people. We welcome that fact, and we present these words without commentary. We will also conclude with an open mic, during which we welcome you to come to the stage and share something that feels relevant to you.
Many people have asked us for copies of the text selections read on Friday. The downloadable document below won’t include the many amazing selections that community members brought in for the open mic portion of the event, but it does include all of the text that we collected in advance to provide a starting point. Enjoy!
Download the text selections here: we-the-people-text-selections-sf-shakes-january-20-2017