Discussing race + power; re-writing Shakespeare.

Re-writing Shakespeare

Last night Civicorps hosted a powerful discussion on race and power, which provided information on the adaption of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice that will be set in modern Oakland and will explore the issue of police violence.

Led by San Francisco Shakespeare Festival instructors, a panel of local politicians answered tough questions and then listened to students share their thoughts around the four themes of the play: justice, revenge, mercy and forgiveness.

Our panelists included:

  • Brigitte Cook, West Oakland Community Liaison to Councilmember Lynette McElhaney
  • Rodney Brooks, Chief of Staff for County Supervisor Keith Carson
  • Sargent Holly Joshi, Chief of Staff for Oakland Police Department

The result was a powerful, insightful conversation.

Student reflections:

“A thing that stood out for me was that a lot of the things that the panelists said about themselves – I could relate to.”

“The the themes of the play: mercy, revenge, forgiveness, and justice — I go through each one every day on the streets.”

“I liked when one of the panelists said ‘We all have a voice, so we all have power.’ It made me see that we do have power.”

Discussing race + power; re-writing Shakespeare / Civicorps

Now our students will work with a playwright to re-write the play and perform it on March 26th.

We hope to see you then for this incredible performance!


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