Black Shakespeare(ans) Database

Faye Butler

Artist Profile by Jo Blankson

Faye Butler’s career spans over 35 years in the entertainment industry. Ms. Butler is an Actress –Singer. Most importantly, she is an entertainer with an extraordinary gift to capture an audience and put them in the palm of her hands.

Ms. Butler performs in concert halls, club venues, corporate events, cabarets and theatres across the country and internationally. EFO Orchestra is E. Faye’s baby organized in 2010. EFO can accommodate your every need. From piano for intimate affair, to her eleven piece orchestra complete with a full horn section for an event.

Ms. Butler travels the country with her cabaret shows and concert series including: American standards, jazz, blues, R&B, gospel and musical theatre. An Evening with E.Faye “Just In Time, The Ladies Who Lunch, Happy Holidays, The Party’s Over, and Valentines For the Lonely Heart. She continues to create and develop new and captivating shows.

The Kennedy Center, Harmon Hall, Mayne Theatre, Blues Alley, Strathmore Music Center, Beacon Theatre, Chicago Blues Festival, Ten Chimneys, Northlight Theatre, Centerstage, BET Soundstage Room 43, Sahara Hotel, Allegro Hotel, Marriott’s Lincolnshire, Midway Theatre, Butterfly Club, Warner Theatre, Teatro in La Habana are among the many concert venues, theatres, jazz clubs and music festivals E. Faye has performed.

Many audiences recognize E.Faye from her theatre career. Goodman Theatre, Arena Stage, Victory Gardens, Northlight Theatre, Court Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Steppenwolf Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Signature Theatre, Centerstage, Chicago Shakespeare, Congo Square, Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Fulton Theatre, Maine State, Sacramento Music Theatre, and PaperMill Playhouse are among the theatres E.Faye has performed. As well as Off Broadway National and Regional tours Mamma Mia, Ain’t Misbehavin, Dinah Was, Nunsense and Nunsense II, Cope….

Recipient of six Joseph Jefferson Awards, two Helen Hayes Awards, R.A.M.I. Award, John Barrymore Award, Ovation Award, Sarah Siddons Leading Lady Award, After Dark Award, Excellence in the Arts, four Black Theatre Alliance Awards, Black Alliance Award, Lunt Fontaine Fellowship, Kathryn V. Lampkey Award, inducted into the Women in the Arts Museum in Washington D.C.

Contact Information:

Booking Agent: Stewart Talent Agency (312) 943-3131 (Sam Samuelson)

Manager: (773) 914-1202 (Bernard D. Johnson)


Instagram: @e.fayebutler

Full Interview Transcript


Blankson: In studying Shakespeare and studying the classics, what parts of Shakespeare resonate with you in the current day and then, on the other side of that, are there parts of Shakespeare that really don’t? Does any part of Shakespeare resonate with you?

Butler: It does, because I think for me, Shakespeare is always about the community’s judgment. That’s what- the works are – you know, it’s about a group of people usually. A collective group of people, arguing against another collective about a situation or circumstance you do every day in life. So, to me, as you begin to study Shakespeare, it’s not very different than what we do every day. We just don’t do it in the same language pattern. So then I found Shakespeare to me wasn’t as difficult as people try to make it because it’s just rhythm… a series of rhythms. And once you learn the rhythms you go wow, okay, this makes sense, and when you actually just say the words and not try to get involved in making it sound a certain way, you just say the text. And I think, sometimes, where people go astray with Shakespeare: They think it should be something it’s not and they go through this whole thing, and like, I don’t understand that. And I want to go, “just say it!”. And I think that it becomes easier for the palate; it becomes easier for the ear. Um, and so many plays that I do, even if they’re not Shakespeare, still have the Shakespearean sound to me. So, whenever I’m doing anything and people say, well, I don’t understand that or I didn’t catch that language right, I say it’s just like Shakespeare. You have to bend your ear to it. And so I don’t find them hard, I think it took me a while to figure out that I understood it, and it was easier than I thought it was going to be. It’s a difficult thing to study, but it was easier than I put the pressure on myself to believe it would be.

Blankson: I see.

Butler: And I think sometimes you can sometimes you can cancel yourself out before you’ve even given yourself the option to try, because you say “oh, Shakespeare, it’s gonna be hard.” And when you say that then you’re not open to the process. When you need to go, “Is that it?”. And they go “yeah, that’s it.” You gotta stop freaking out about it. Yeah, um, you just have to read it, And to me, Shakespeare is something that every time you read it, it becomes easier. It just becomes easier and if you just read it, and not try to put something on it or change it, the language becomes clearer and clearer. And then you got so many guys to figure out what does that mean, and how does that fit and then you make sense of it. Then you go oh gosh, she said “I’m going across the street, to go to the store”. And it might have been in a different phrasing, but it’s still the same thing, and so it makes sense to me. And I think that’s where, when I started out, I got tripped up is because, for some reason people kept telling me I couldn’t do it, so I did – I kind of tricked myself out to believe I can’t do it, but then I said, “but I can do it” and it wasn’t as hard as everybody kept telling me, so what is the big deal? Everybody’s saying I wouldn’t be able to do this. I’m trying to figure out what it is that you said I didn’t I couldn’t do. And then I had to let go of that, as we all do, and know that I can do anything I want to do. You know, just so – you know, you just have to do it. You just stop second guessing yourself and I tell especially African American students that all the time. Stop buying into this myth that you can’t do the classics. Stop buying into the myth. It’s just a myth. It’s just it’s not true.

Blankson: Wow, that’s so amazing to hear that you were able to sustain engagement through all of that and really come to the other side as a distinguished actress. I’m so inspired by that.

Butler: So I always tell people that don’t let that you know, but then don’t dismiss it. I studied, just like you would, August Wilson or anything you know what I mean? Don’t dismiss, don’t be dismissive in it, but don’t let it freak you out either. Yeah, and then ask for help! There’s so many people that can coach you. Don’t be afraid to get coached so that the things you don’t understand – and I still coach on Shakespeare. If I have to do something I know about three coaches that are really great because they’ve done them all. And I would much more prefer to coach with somebody for the intention of a character. And to make sure that you know what I mean like I would anything. Yeah, and I think that’s where people can go astray. They get nervous and it’s like, “Oh well, you know I shouldn’t be asking for help, I should know this”. You don’t have to know everything and you don’t have to know every Shakespeare piece, you don’t have to know every character in Shakespeare. It’s okay.

Blankson: Right right.

Butler: You don’t have to.

Blankson: Okay. I’m just thinking of this question right now on the fly. So you mentioned kind of a pressure to know every Shakespeare piece, and to be- I guess, my question is, do you feel like academic Shakespeare spaces, or this idea of the Academy, and the institutionalization of Shakespeare, do you feel that that is a place in which you belong? I mean, at this point in time, as a distinguished actress, or is that still a place that you feel is somewhat exclusive?

Butler: Exclusive. Exclusive, and I think it’s exclusive because people want it to be that way. You know what I’m saying. It’s like there’s a club and that’s fine. I tell people that that’s fine, but I think what knocks them down is when you can take your Shakespearean experiences and transport to other things. And then come out on the other side, and they’ll go “Now, that was just like Shakespeare!”, and I went, you can apply those things to it, you know.

Blankson: Yeah.

Butler: I mean, I think that’s what good actors do. When you learn the rhythm of any writer, and you know what I mean, and you were taught that by Shakespeare’s example. Yeah, of his characters and his rhythms and how he introduces characters in other plays that he – you know what I’m saying. It becomes a community. I think sometimes that’s the part that we miss. When we’re on the outside of that elite, you know that elite group of folks that feel like they’re experts at what they do and it’s great. They can have that um but the thing about being an expert at that – what else can you do?

Blankson: yeah.

Butler: And you know, apply that to something else. Oh. No? Well, okay. And you know, in today’s society where we – the average person doesn’t even hear Shakespeare, doesn’t have the patience to sit for two, three hours to hear a Shakespearean piece, you know. We’re like 90 minutes, I’m out. You can use some of that experience from Shakespeare, and you can apply it to other things. It’s why Shakespeare hip-hop is such a big deal, you know, and all of those mediums now taking Shakespeare, it’s why so many theaters are taking Shakespeare and shaking it up like we did with taming of the shrew. It entices audiences to come back and understand that you really can understand this and it really is a part of our culture and we don’t have to be dismissive and feel like we can’t be a part of it, you know, especially as black folk. How many times do we hear Shakespeare and we go “Oh, no, I can’t.”? I can see I mean I have family like that. They’re like I just can’t come see you. I’m like “Oh, come on, give it a try.” and they go “Okay, Okay”. But then again I tell them “read a little bit about it, like you would anything before you go. And it’ll help you.”

You know, so I think it is an elitist thing for some people, it makes them feel that way. But it isn’t – that was not Shakespeare’s intention, let me say that. He was a real average guy. And I think so many people try to make him what he wasn’t.

Blankson: Right… kind of deify him.

Butler: Right right right, but he wasn’t. He wasn’t that. People have put that on him because if you look at him, you just look at any of these. It’s all about the simple things in life. Friends, family, love, loss, gain. You know, horrible family situations, and mothers that are crazy and fathers and sons. And he put it in these words and – and we’re always judging one another, you know the community judging who’s on top. It’s all that. That whole thing is its life. Yeah. He told it in a different way, but framed the same way it’s still life, hierarchy, all of that. So he wasn’t as complicated as people want to make him. He just knew how to take a turn of phrase, as we say. So I think those elitists, they think, you know, “No one could ever do this”. I don’t think that’s what his intention was. His intention was for everyone to be able to come together and experience these things as a community.

Blankson: Right right.

Butler: That’s what. That was his attention.

Blankson: That’s so true, yes. So then, speaking of Shakespeare adaptations that kind of bring him into 2021, into the 21st century. Yes, you were in a production of Taming of The Shrew at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. It was an all women cast, I believe.Yes, in that play each cast member also played a Suffragette. I think the idea of the play was that it was kind of a meta-fictional presentation of Shakespeare in which the suffragettes were putting on taming of the shrew. So my first question about that is, how did that framing and how did the adaptation of that play change the experience of Taming of The Shrew for you, which I think to many people is construed as a very sexist kind of play.

Butler: I think we had the ability. As actors, especially female actors, one of the biggest things that we had to realize was that, when we were transferred from the females to do Taming of the Shrew, we had to do it the right way. It captured being a male figure as a woman, and not a woman trying to do a woman trying to do a man. I mean we literally focused on that so it’s the different postures of how a man would sit.

Blankson: Yeah.

Butler: And having women do it, and do it in the same mannerisms knowing how to sit like Baptista. That male thing. You know what I’m saying? That, that has to go, because we would be – you know we’re girls and we’re in these dresses they’re we’re long and we’re women of a certain means so we’re not like – you know. So we’re women of a certain means that have lots of things on our hands and then all of a sudden, we’re coming together in this women’s Club to present this play that’s very important to us. You know, myself, representing an actual woman of that period as a black woman in the 20s who actually was a Suffragette that was fighting to get white women the right to vote, but in that time she couldn’t vote.

Blankson: Mm hmm.

Butler: So there was a juxtaposition of her being this artist that wanted to be a part of this play because she loves Shakespeare, but yet and still, people sometimes didn’t get that. When I was – when we were in the rehearsal now they would say to me “Well, you’re just like…” I said “no”, because I wouldn’t be – I couldn’t have the vote. Y’all gotta remember I’m here and I’m a doctor!

Blankson: Mm hmm.

Butler: And I’m a married woman. And I raised my children because this is a woman that- Mary raised her children and after she raised her children, she became a doctor, and became a part of this club – exclusive club in Chicago. She couldn’t, you know, this was one of the few places she could walk in the front door and it was because she was with these white women. But yet and still she couldn’t vote for something. She was fighting to help women gain hope that someday as a black woman, she would be able to have the right to vote. And as Baptista,

Blankson: Yeah.

Butler: Who is a man that has these two beautiful daughters and he wants the world for them. Do you know what I’m saying? Yeah, and the challenge of deciding what to do about that. And making sure that you know the one daughter has the security all of that was a lot to kind of put together, but I think that when we went about it, we really tried to be the male figures and not comment on – Not comment on women being playing men, but actually just being them. So that we can see it through a different lens. Yeah. Because it would be easy to try to comment on it, but we couldn’t comment on it. Yeah, so I had to really be a father.That father who wanted to protect his daughters as opposed to a coddling mom that wanted to stroke them.

Blankson: yeah.

Butler: And make good business decisions for my family, which is unique for a woman to be playing something where you got to get out of your way and not bring that to the table. It was certainly a challenge. It was definitely a challenge for all of us. Because we realize that as you go through the text, “Wow, this is really sexist”. It’s like

Blankson: yeah.

Butler: But it is what it is and we can’t change it, because that was the intention of the piece. Mm hmm.

Blankson: So I’m hearing a kind of irony here, where in embodying the role of Baptista and all of you and bending the roles of these male characters it’s kind of like a flip of what was historically done in Shakespeare’s time in which male actors would embody the female roles. I’m wondering, do you feel that there’s any special kind of political power in that switch and role reversal?

Butler: I think there is, I think I got a clear understanding of how we as women allow men to change us. I didn’t realize that until I started spending a lot of time… allowing men to treat us a certain way and we teach them that way and it doesn’t have to be that way, because at the end of the day we pick up so much trash. We are always correcting the ills of some man, as women in the world.

Blankson: Yeah, yeah.

Butler: And the irony of that was watching that and not being able to defend it or fix it. I just had to do it. And at some points playing Baptista I’m like I would never, you are such a –  but you know what? It taught me a lot about that. You know what I’m saying? Yeah. Because I couldn’t comment on it. And actually do justice. That makes sense to you. So, as you talk, irony was everywhere. It was everywhere – everywhere, all day. And I think that the lovely part is when we would go back to our female characters within the play, we always found ourselves struggling to fight for our independence as Suffragettes.

Blankson: yeah.

Butler: It made us stronger in our fight for what we wanted and not letting men take that away from us.

Blankson: yeah.

Butler: So the irony was playing the men allowed us to be stronger as women.

Blankson: That’s so beautiful.

Butler: And so that’s why we – That’s why we persevered. We didn’t care if they took us to jail, we didn’t care now. Yeah, yeah.

Blankson: So I – just maybe for a sec – I kind of want to push back a little bit. You’re saying that when you were performing Shakespeare you weren’t able to comment on the sexism of the play. I think that’s definitely true but I’m curious, especially as an extremely skilled and talented actor, do you think that there’s any way to kind of insert a maybe slight commentary through your acting technique?

Butler: Yeah, absolutely, yeah there are times when you want to. You have to because you always have to remember you were hired because people want you in that role. Not just a person, but you, and so you always have to uniquely figure out and it’s a strategy when it works, how to bring yourself to everything you do. Even if it’s male. And so I remember in doing that, even though I would take those postures, I took the postures of men that I experienced in my life – in my African American life that influenced me. And that was my kind of way of dipping in. You know what I’m saying is, I have to remember that to say, even though I’m a woman doing a man, I’m still a woman doing a man from an African American man. So my love for my daughters, one being you know, white in the show and one being black in the show – you can’t ignore that. There were times that they would say, “say it like this”.

“No, but I’m a black dad. I won’t do that.”

Yeah, I just gotta go with it. You know, relate whatever it is to who I am.

Blankson: I think that’s how you slip it in, you know what I mean?

Butler: I always tell people you can never forget who you are and why you’re there and that’s uniquely why they’ve asked you to do it.

Blankson: Right.

Butler: So don’t push it to the side. Just know that’s part of what you have to dip into.

Blankson: So when you say taking the postures of African American men, do you mean the physical postures in your body or, can you tell me a little more about that?

Butler: Not only just the physical postures but the way we think about our children. I don’t know how white folks think about their children. I find that black men are very protective of their daughters. They’re very strong about how they feel about their daughters and they don’t – which was a slippery slope. With that I would take certain lines that people are used to being funny and aside. But they weren’t funny to me as the black Baptista. I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. Yeah, you know what I mean? It’s amazing. They would say “Oh, but he should” I said, “not so much. Not for me I’m not saying it can’t be done. Just not for me. Let me try this.”

Blankson: mm hmm.

Butler: I said “just let me try it.”

“Yeah, okay, I get it, you know okay.”

My heart. It’s all about you know they don’t care what they do – they’re my heart and they’re my babies.

Blankson: Right right right. What I’m hearing is that because you have this really robust classical training, you know, maybe the ways that certain lines have historically been delivered so then with that you’re able you’re able to twist things. Make something more serious here and there a little.

Butler: I don’t go for what people say, well, that is what Baptista always does, I say well “I’m sorry I missed it. But I mean right now, that’s not where I see it”.

Blankson: Yeah, that’s awesome.

Butler: Because I think that would be false and it would be untrue and no, it wouldn’t be organic. That’s not what you want. I want to have a conversation with my daughter. Because I love her in a sincere way. I want to have a conversation with her. I don’t need to proclaim it to everyone. That’s my daughter.

Blankson: A lot of Shakespeare’s work has heavy subject matter, of course. There’s wars, there’s family drama, etc., and performing that or practicing it week after week, performing it night after night, I imagine that might take a little bit of a toll on you as an actor. And I mean even just the physical exertion that it requires to perform in these plays. I’m curious, how do you maybe recognize when that starts to take a toll on you and what are your self care practices that have emerged through that?

Butler: Well, you know I did. I was the nurse in Romeo and Juliet. I was in a version of it in Shakespeare in DC and I remember doing that and you know the nurse, it can be like she goes from one extreme to another, you know first act she’s okay. Second act she’s like “Oh, poor me”. And sometimes it would take a toll on me, especially when we got to the you know the death scene, when you know when they find Juliet you know and for, and for this nurse, you know Juliet was my baby, not being able to have my own, you know, having lost a baby. I knew that would take a toll on me every night, and so I found that what I had to do was I had to decompress by going home. For me, when I get in situations like that, self-care it’s dumb television that watches me and I don’t watch it. And it’s going totally just listening to good music and just kind of nothing to do with theater. I have grandchildren. I am such a family oriented person that when I come home, I really, really work very hard at keeping all of that right outside the door. It’s a hard thing to learn and it’s taken me years to learn it, but I very rarely bring the things from a theater home with me. I really try to leave them in the dressing room when I walk out. And I think part of that is that I don’t have a tendency to carpool. I just kind of disconnect. I have to disconnect.

You know, I love what I do and I love being with everybody at the theater, but when the theater is over, I really try to leave the theater right where it is. Because what I think it does for you, especially when you’re doing an intense show, I mean even doing Fannie, you know if you don’t do that it becomes your life. And the thing that I always tell people and I always tell young people this and I’ll say it 100 times, again and again and again: let the arts be a part of what you do not who you are. It should not be who you are. It will be something that’s a part of your life that you do. So that you have a life because it is through life’s experiences that you will be able to bring those things to the stage. Yeah, if you’re not living and just doing normal redundant things – like going to the door to get a delivery or making a smoothie for my husband – you know what I’m saying? Just some of the basic things that we do: taking a walk, talking to friends that have nothing to do with theater. I think that, in many ways, grounds you and it kind of gives you new energy when you come back to the theater because you’re ready to come back.

Blankson: yeah.

Butler: And you’re not living with it all day long so it’s loud like laboring you and you get back and you’re like “Oh, here we are again.” I don’t go to the theater that way. When I’m at the theater I’m excited to be there. Because it’s another part of the day.

Blankson: Right, yes.

Butler: That’s part of my journey. And I’ve got some stuff that happened to me today that I can take right to the theater. If it’s something that irritated me, I can put it right into the theatre that night and take that off. I think it works. So for me, my self care is really focusing on my family and home. I think we all need a home. A soft place to fall that makes us feel like you know, like I said; It’s not who I am, it is what I do.

Blankson: That’s awesome, yeah. You were Chicagoan of the year last year in 2020, congratulations.

Butler: Thank you so much.

Blankson: So so amazing, and I believe the reason, or one of the many reasons I’m sure, you were awarded that title is because you were one of the first actors during the COVID-19 pandemic hopping back out and doing an outdoor show. Which was so salient last year during the election year. You were civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. I have a couple questions, my first one is where did that, where did that drive come from to hop right back out and keep going even during the pandemic.

Butler: Well, you know what, I think this is a great question. I love this question because it kind of speaks to what I just said. I think when the pandemic happened, people that were in the arts that don’t live full robust lives went “What do I do now?”

Blankson: Yeah.

Butler: That’s my point. There were a lot of folks who were lost, and a lot. I have friends that were lost. And I said, well what a great time to reinvent, recreate, and reach out for all those things woulda-coulda-shoulda I wish I could have had time but I, but – This is a time to grasp those things. I have a tendency to work on a lot of different things. Cheryl West who wrote Fannie Lou Hamer, the story of Fannie, she and I have worked together on several projects and she’d been telling me about this project, and she gave it to me in 2019. I read it, I loved it. And she said, “Well, I thought about you when I wrote it and I wrote it for you”. And I said “Oh, that’s amazing!”. So we did a workshop of it in November 2019 at the Goodman in their reading that they do. They do a big festival. We did it in the festival. It went over like gangbusters so the government decided that in 2020 it was going to open the season. And then the pandemic happened. And if you know anything about Fannie Lou Hamer she was a civil rights activist. For me, my biggest thing was voting rights. People having the right to vote. 

What an amazing time for me to have that piece. Sitting in front of me with the election that we went through last year… Henry Godinez, the director of the piece, and Cheryl, I said we just can’t sit on this. I said “Guys, we got to do something. We got to do something. And so Henry came up with the idea that, just like that he was going to get a bus, he was going to get a trailer. We needed to get a truck and just go into the community, because people need to vote, and I said “you’re absolutely right”, this is prime time for Fannie Lou Hamer.

Butler: And we were going to be shut down because we can’t get to the theater. The Goodman said, “we’ll try”. So, in conjunction with the park district, the CDC, the state of Illinois, the city of Chicago and all of the theatrical unions, they said “Okay, let’s do it”. And they came to me and said “You’re willing to do it?”. I said, “I’m willing to stand on a truck and scream to the mountains if it will get people to vote. If it will get people to understand who Fannie Lou Hamer was”.  Since then, we did it in nine parks in Chicago, we did it in Washington, D.C. just before the elections, which went over like gangbusters then this year. Even though we were still independent for the first part of the year, people still wanted to do it because they didn’t know. A lot of people don’t even know who Fannie Lou Hamer was. They don’t know either, but as they find out they’re going, “Why don’t we know this?” I’m like, she was a woman, first of all, there we go. She was a woman that was fighting for the rights of people who did not know they had a right to vote. You gotta remember this is a woman that was 44 years old when she even knew she could vote in Mississippi. So she made it her life goal to make sure that everybody knew they had rights that she fought for those that didn’t have, and so, because of that now, I did it in Florida this past winter, January to March, the full length production.

Because we did it in the parks, it was 40 minutes. Now it’s a 90 minute show, which was the original way we did it when we did the workshop in ’19. I just did the show in Florida. Sarasota, Florida, went over like gangbusters. We’re talking Florida. I couldn’t imagine it was going to go over like that. They absolutely loved it. The audience said the same thing everyone kept saying  “Why don’t we know about her?” She was a woman, a black woman in the 60s and we know how that works. But you know, Martin Luther King is, and everybody, yes, we can go down the list of the men now. It’s the women we don’t know that are part of the civil rights movement. So she’s finally getting her day in the sun and she’s so well deserved and so again it’s going to open back up the season at the Goodman in the fall, I’m on my way to Oregon Shakespeare festival to do it there in about two weeks until August. Then, it’s going to Seattle, it’s going to the public good. I mean it’s like gangbusters. This woman is going to be honored now all over the country and it all started with that little beacon of “I cannot just sit here and do nothing.”

Blankson: That’s so amazing. I would love to find a way to come see it. That just sounds amazing.

Butler: Yeah so it’s going to be in all of these places, and I think it’s great, but I think it also proves that, women in this time we can do so much. We can recreate ourselves. We are artists who can do whatever we want to do. And in many ways, this is the kind of stuff that Shakespeare would have been proud of – that someone got on the back of a truck outside outdoors. Isn’t that what that is? Taking it to the community. I mean it all comes back full circle. That’s what it was about. Communities speaking to communities about issues that we have. You know what I’m saying? And so it was kind of like, especially in this conversation, it’s kind of like the very thing that Shakespeare is – it’s about taking it to the people. Letting them make the decisions, leaving it at their doorstep and seeing what they’ll do with it. But it makes me very proud to do it every time I do it.

So that’s why I say Shakespeare, he shows himself in so many different ways through our careers that we don’t even know it’s happening at times. And so, as I was doing Fannie, people kept saying “It’s like she’s giving…” I said “what, a soliloquy?”. What I’m saying there, she is in the honor of that. To know that I’m going to the Oregon Shakespeare festival with Fannie Lou Hamer. Yeah. That’s when you know: all of that they told me I couldn’t do. All that that they said I’d never do comes full circle.

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