Colour Of Justice Links

Colour Of Justice poster

Colour of justice- Notes from the Director  

Jamaican National Pledge:

"Before God and all mankind, I pledge the love and loyalty of my heart,

the wisdom and courage of my mind, the strength and vigor of my body,

in the service of my fellow citizens.

I promise to stand up for justice, brotherhood and peace;

to work diligently and creatively, to think generously and honestly,

so that, Jamaica may under God, increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity,

and play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race."

The young man is buried in Clarendon, Jamaica - his tombstone carved marble shaped like an open book. Searching for Stephen Lawrence's story has been a voluminous case for we theatre artisans here in Oakland, California - and an honor. I am in awe of the Lawrence family's urge to keep the case open and their son alive in Britain's memory. Theirs' is a remarkable success - even as the rains of the Caribbean cry upon their child's grave.

Colour Of Justice script cover

And TheatreFIRST is brave to choose this sweeping, huge play. I am honored to lead the vision and trust that the advantage of an epic-sized cast will stand for itself. These are lean times; yet, still theatre companies have no choice but to "double-&-triple-cast" their shows…there's a novel kind of theatrical economy in telling any story with a grand ensemble. Having been weaned theatrically on the stage work of Bill Ball, I can often only imagine the comprehensive & eloquent deployment of a full chorus: united, various and many! When this marvelous play, edited from a headline story, was handed me - I sensed instantly, that it was as epic as any Greek piece I've endeavored. And I crowed, "Oh, no less than 30 actors…please."

Collecting this grand cast was as detailed and ongoing a task as amassing evidence for a case. I would secure a talent, and then lose them (to a different "gig" - as we say in the biz). This created a constant need to staunch the bleed, and I was reminded of Stephen Lawrence's predicament that night on Well Hall Road nine years ago. I kept thinking, "Just save the boy, tell his story, triage the bleed." As we approached our first run-through, we were all there; the necessary persons had found the scene. Deep sigh. We settled into our full ensemble - truly a "united nations" (six continents are represented amongst our actors.) I believe that if we do this well, share the story appropriately, then we are all, artists and audience, Stephen's bus - that bus that didn't make it in time on Welhall Raod to bring him home, out of harm's way and into the arms of Love.

Searching for Stephen. Electronic treasure hunts on the web link to so much information about the case, that you marvel at it and are swamped in it and consumed by it. An artistic insistence of redistributing at least half of the roles to females - and the joy of seeing that succeed in good measure. Adding characters (if only in the shadows) who are mentioned in the Inquiry records, but not seen: Grandmother, Joey, Norris & Grant. Searching for Stephen. Refashioning the text, so that people speak for themselves, and not always through lawyers. A slight reordering of the text of the play. And, ah! - putting Stephen himself back into the story, and onto the stage.

When Art does its job, it changes us. And I can say that I have been changed by getting to know Stephen. I invite you to hear his story tonight and take it with you into your daily lives. May we all, by example, follow one of the creeds whispered to us in the Jamaican national anthem: "…to play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race." For we are there, we are at that threshold now, as our planet spins madly round - full of guns, knives and stones. We must help the young men see another way. Their lives are running away.

"…to stand up for justice, brotherhood and peace."
- Randall Stuart