ALL ARTS Documentary Selects

FULL EPISODE

Under the Greenwood Tree

This documentary focuses on The Public Theater’s 2017 Public Works production of As You Like It, performed by 200 New Yorkers of all ages and boroughs. The show was set to be remounted in 2020, but plans were halted by COVID-19. This film tracks the creation of As You Like It and the ways this resilient community banded together amidst the crises of 2020.

AIRED: October 07, 2020 | 0:59:23
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TRANSCRIPT

[birds singing and quiet chat]

[horns]

[instrumental music playing]

[instrumental music continues]

[Laurie] Public Works was an experiment

at the very beginning of its inception.

The idea was how can we engage New Yorkers,

not just by witnessing art,

but actually creating art

and being the art makers that you see on stage.

[Mayelyn] That was cool to see

all of our community members who normally don't have a line

or who typically don't step up

because they wouldn't step into their power and these rules.

And just prove that we are pretty powerful.

We began by bringing theater out to the people.

And that was a wonderful, generous act.

But it also had a certain tinge of colonialism about it.

We had art, we are gonna offer it up to you.

We needed actually reverse the circle and say:

"The people are not simply there to consume great art,

they are there to make great art."

[Sally Ann] I've been going to the after-school program

since I was in kindergarten.

And then I saw a sign saying they had acting classes,

I was like: "I wanna do these classes."

And that's how I started joining with Public Works.

[Laurie] It was really investigating theater,

with, for and by New York City.

And the idea was: here we have the Mobile Unit

that toured out into communities.

And all of that builds

to our ambitious works of participatory theater

that we do every summer at the Delacorte Theater.

[Christine] The beautiful thing about Public Works is incorporating

all the community groups from the 5 boroughs of New York.

To come into this theater.

To do theater as you like it.

[Oskar] What if we deliberately blur the lines

between the professional and the amateur?

What if we say that art making belongs to all of us?

That is what Public Works is.

[Laurie] I can do anything. I don't have to be a mother,

a father, a worker, a housewife, a teacher.

I can be that, but I can also be an artist.

[instrumental music playing]

[instrumental music continues]

[instrumental music fades]

[vibrant music]

[applauses] [cheering]

♪ all the world's a stage ♪

♪ and everybody's in the show ♪

♪ nobody's a pro ♪

♪ all the world's a stage ♪

♪ and every day, we play our part ♪

♪ acting out our heart ♪

♪ year by year, we grow ♪

♪ learning as we go ♪

♪ trying to tell a story we can feel ♪

♪ how do you make the magic real? ♪

♪ da da da da da da da ♪

♪ da da da da da da da ♪

♪ da da da da da da da da da ♪

♪ we start as babies ♪

♪ born unafraid to cry ♪

♪ puking on our parents' shirts ♪

♪ still staring up with wonder at the sky ♪

♪ and then we're kids ♪

♪ not yet capable of hate ♪

♪ freely dancing with each other ♪

♪ unaware inside our youth ♪

♪ of a difference between make-believe and truth ♪

♪ all the world's a stage ♪

♪ da da da da da da da ♪

♪ all the world's a stage ♪

♪ da da da da da da da ♪

♪ then we get bigger ♪

♪ and think before we play ♪

♪ give each other stage fright ♪

♪ and worry what the critics have to say ♪

♪ we hide in costume ♪

♪ pretend we blend in with the scenery ♪

♪ and act the way we're taught we ought be ♪

♪ all the world's a stage ♪

♪ da da da da da da da ♪

♪ all the world's a stage ♪

♪ da da da da da da da ♪

♪ then we're almost grown-ups ♪

♪ trying to fill our parents' shoes with broken soles ♪

♪ we question our roles ♪

♪ can't seem to find our light ♪

♪ sick of waiting in the wings of the same life ♪

♪ night after night ♪

♪ longing for a duet ♪

♪ with someone who truly sees you ♪

♪ we don't know the words yet ♪

♪ but we'll sing until we do ♪

[Emily] Public Works is a program at the Public Theater

that the foundation of the program is community partnership.

And the idea is that we are working closely with

organizational partners, community partner organizations

in all over the city.

And those community partner organizations are exceptional

at serving communities in New York already.

And we listen really closely to our partner organizations.

And we have a relationship

that is really based on mutual benefit.

[music continues]

♪ how do you make the magic real? ♪

♪ how do you make the magic real? ♪

[Lear] The 200 person cast consists of Equity Actors,

five Equity Actors.

And then, roughly 100 people that are part of what

we call the community ensemble.

Those are community members from our partner organizations.

Our partner organizations were DreamYard in the Bronx.

Casita Maria, Domestic Workers United.

Children's Aid in Manhattan.

Fortune Society in Queens.

Brownsville Recreation Center in Brooklyn.

Center for Family Life in Sunset Park.

And then the Military Resilience Foundation.

And those jumped on board

to the grand experiment that was Public Works.

Some people had ideas of what it was: "We're going to do a play."

and other people were like: "I have no idea,

but you are showing up weekly to our site

offering us classes to be creative.

Sure, we will join you on this experiment."

[Emily] When we do classes,

we do not come in with a curriculum.

We go to our community partner organizations, and say:

"What do you want to learn?"

[Laurie] One of the things we believe is that by inviting

professionals who are working at their highest level,

to perform side by side

with people stepping on stage for the first time

that we are creating art

that is ambitious, and professional and excellent.

We are all bringing our A game

and sharing that with the city.

[Laurie] Often times we stay in our own boroughs.

We stay in our own neighborhoods.

And that can be perceived as our community.

But New York City is our community.

The United States is our community, you know?

If we can start opening up those circles of who we interact with,

that can lead to more unification, healing and compassion.

[Marcia] I had recently retired.

And my daughter told me I needed something to do.

[laughing]

And I enjoyed it so much, I auditioned and I was on stage.

[both laughing]

[Julie] We are a comprehensive combination of services,

that support families for family counseling,

adult employment, youth employment,

a food pantry, emergency support services.

But at Sunset Park,

is like predominantly Mandarin and Hispanic.

[Kelly] The Children's Aid Society is

a social service agency that focuses on children.

And tries to reach the needs of children,

mainly in lower income areas.

To focus on helping children get the services they need,

and the education they need.

[Mayelyn] The way that I came to know the Public

because while I was at the Children's Aid

I participate in their Children's Aid Society Chorus,

which is a chorus of all female young singers.

[Troy] DreamYard is an art

and social justice educational organization.

We work primarily in the Bronx.

And we serve about ten thousand young people

across the Bronx in about 50 different schools.

And we also have an art center.

[Maddie] I heard about DreamYard through a friend.

I started taking my daughter to DreamYard.

It's like an after-school program. They help them with their homework,

they do dance classes, music classes.

We're blessed to be one of the founding

community partners of Public Works.

So we were able to be involved

in shaping it from the beginning.

[instrumental music]

[Jamie] Fortune is a full embrace.

So we provide wraparound supportive services

for New Yorkers with justice histories.

So we do that through a whole slew of programs and offerings

that includes housing, employment services.

There are outpatient treatment services.

There is a fully certified mental health clinic.

We do food and nutrition programming.

Family services, care management.

[instrumental music]

They came to Fortune Society, right?

It's where I go to get my education.

They said if I get involved with this organization,

that my life would get better.

[Shannon] I've always wanted to be an actor.

And this goes way back.

I joined the navy in 1990.

Before that, I had done a little bit of acting.

One day, in 2016, I happened to go to the Harlem Vet Center

and they had fliers for acting workshops and classes.

At the time, The Military Resilience Foundation,

they were just what I was looking for.

[Aynisa] Military Resilience Foundation

and Public Works began our partnership.

Public Works had approached MRF

looking for a veteran organization

that brought people together through the arts.

I worked with military service members that were

experiencing post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety.

There is always some relationship

that gets disturbed or disrupted

when someone experiences trauma.

So theater and drama builds relationships in a way

that's parallel but healing to that.

[Christine] The women who are the nannies, caregivers,

housekeepers are primarily immigrants women of color.

So we organize, doing outreach in the parks,

in the bookstores,

where nannies congregate with their children,

and we host a town hall meeting every Saturday.

Which is to alert women on their rights.

Having a legal recourse, take "Her justice",

which are pro bono lawyers who will fight

for the rights of the workers.

[Haydee] Casita Maria is proud

to have been here since 1961.

We are situated in Hunts Point.

It is the poorest congressional district

in the United States.

Here in the Bronx.

We serve 1000 children between grades K and 12.

Giving them much needed after-school services

a nurturing and caring environment.

[guitar playing]

[Vivian] My life now is

in Brownsville Recreation Center.

That is where I spent the last 20 some odd years.

I do specialize programming there with all ages.

We do everything from after school to summer camp.

Shape up classes, fitness, sports.

[Vivian] Public Theater,

they said: "Ms. Jett, what if we come

and have them teach you one day a week, two hours?"

And you know how Ms. Jett is, "Is it free?"

Anyway, it was free.

Next thing you know, they said:

"We're going to have a production at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park,

we would like to have your seniors up there."

Some of my ladies were almost 90 years old.

You know, 80, 75.

New York City.

That brought us to Brooklyn.

I, myself, come with Broadway experience.

So, I made sure when I arrived in Brownsville

I brought that with me.

Do I remembered it?

♪ oh deer, my dear, my dosey-doe ♪

♪ I'm white-hot on your trail ♪

♪ ever since you pranced my woodsy way ♪

♪ been wishin' we could shake a tale ♪

♪ but deer, my dear, my dosey-doe ♪

♪ you're giving me the run-around ♪

♪ you can try to throw me off your scent ♪

♪ but soon I'm gonna hunt you down ♪

♪ I'm gonna hunt you down ♪

♪ gonna hunt you down, down, down ♪

♪ you may be big game, dearie ♪

♪ but soon I'm gonna hunt you down ♪

One of the seniors said to me,

"This is not what I thought

I was gonna be doing in my retirement."

[laughing]

[Vivian] They were starting all over again,

these girls were retired.

Some were teachers,

some worked in hospitals.

You know, so they came from an array of walks of life,

they came from everywhere.

Because we knew we were safe.

That is the most important thing,

knowing that you are safe.

AndAs You Like It , that was a safe haven also.

I just wish there were more venues

where people can just go, and feel welcomed.

No matter what was going on out there,

inside that theater,

we were all unified, we were all one.

[Pablo] If we, at the Public said every summer,

'We are gonna do a show of 200 people,

here is an open call audition.

Anyone in the city can come audition."

We would not get the folks we work with.

We would get a lot of people

that already know what the Public Theater is.

Perhaps they already know

whatShakespeare in the Park is and love it.

Or lots of aspiring actors.

And those folks have a space at the Public Theater as well.

It's just that this is about building new relationships.

[people talking]

[Laurie] When Public Works first started out

we wanted to make sure

we had representatives in all five boroughs.

So that, when people came,

they could see all of New York up on that stage.

That's ultimately the goal.

♪ in Arden, oh in Arden, oh in Arden ♪

♪ how shall we learn to be? ♪

♪ in Arden, oh in Arden, oh in Arden ♪

[Shaina]As You Like It as a play is about a tyrannical,

authoritarian fascist leader

who takes over a court, a country if you will.

When we were looking at As You Like It,

the original play,

it's Duke Senior and a few lords,

and Jaques out in the forest of Arden.

And they have been cast out by this tyrannical leader.

And so, what if in Arden

there was a whole community of families

that had been cast away from the kingdom?

♪ in Arden, oh in Arden, oh in Arden ♪

♪ how shall we learn to be? ♪

♪ calling all our friends and family in exile ♪

♪ gather round as we make a song ♪

♪ how shall we sing of grace in this strange place? ♪

♪ I don't know, but I'll sing along ♪

♪ in Arden ♪

♪ we shall try to find the use in our distress ♪

♪ in Arden ♪

♪ we shall answer to adversity with kindness ♪

♪ in Arden ♪

♪ we shall seek the blessings in our miseries ♪

♪ we shall learn to see the forest for the trees ♪

♪ oh when the icy winter wind benumbs my body ♪

♪ even though I shiver, I am still alive ♪

♪ I smile and thank the wind for its honesty ♪

♪ reminding me my skin is thick enough to survive ♪

♪ in Arden ♪

♪ we shall study all the sermons in the stones ♪

♪ in Arden ♪

♪ we shall hear the language of our hearts and bones ♪

♪ in Arden ♪

♪ we shall read the book in the brook and sacred spring ♪

♪ we shall listen for the truth in everything ♪

♪ the cave becomes our roof ♪

♪ the fire becomes our heat ♪

♪ the rain becomes our drink ♪

♪ the deer become our food to eat ♪

♪ do you realize that the deer we eat for dinner ♪

♪ are actually thinking, feeling creatures ♪

♪ who lived here long before we came? ♪

♪ and when we occupy their native home ♪

♪ and hunt them down ♪

♪ we're no better than your brother ♪

♪ who displaced us just the same ♪

[Jamie] In Arden, individuals with justice histories

are your neighbors.

The elders, their wisdom and their beauty.

They're your neighbor.

♪ in Arden ♪

♪ we shall reach out in the darkness and arise! ♪

♪ in Arden ♪

♪ we shall see the light within each other's eyes! ♪

♪ in Arden ♪

♪ we shall make a sanctuary all as one! ♪

♪ our love should be our shepherd and our sun! ♪

♪ till it burns out and kills us all ♪

♪ together we'll heal our wound ♪

♪ together we'll heal our wound ♪

♪ together we'll heal our wound ♪

♪ together we'll heal our wound ♪

♪ in Arden! ♪

[audience clapping and cheering]

[Samantha] One thing about Public Works is

it brings the community together.

So, it's like, Public Works is like Arden.

[Laurie ] Public Works was founded by

the incomparable Lear de Bessonet,

who together with the genius of Todd Almond

created a model for how these 200 person pageant

could be actualized on the Delacorte stage.

The first year was the grand experiment.

Then the second year was us trying to figure out:

"Could we get lightning in a bottle twice?"

And the third year was,

"Can we make sure that we can do it three years in a row?"

But each year the community

just keeping getting stronger and stronger.

We had our year-round classes.

And they were diving deeper into the Shakespeare text,

so, they are truly trained Shakespearean actors.

So, by the time we get to As You Like It,

they've been training in handling Shakespeare's texts.

They've been training in singing songs.

So, we really could write roles

for community to take center stage of the Delacorte,

and hold their own, up against Broadway performers.

[clapping and cheering]

In 2016, for the 5th anniversary,

Shaina and I wanted to do something

that really pushed our community

because it was the 5th year.

And we decided thatAs You Like It would be the perfect story

of William Shakespeare canon to tell.

[piano music playing]

It's taking this, often maybe, three hour classic,

famous, iconic play, the greatest of the canon,

and take that play,

condense it to 90 minutes, single act,

fully functional musical.

Where the songs are not decorative, ornamental.

Actually make the songs fully functional,

for character and story.

♪ one, two, three, huh! ♪

♪ one, two, three, huh! ♪

Orlando is a young man

trying to transition into manhood,

Like, he's trying to...

Find his way in the world without, really, any help.

♪ now I'm grown and I've got no job, no degree ♪

♪ so no one takes me seriously ♪

♪ just another uneducated punk with no shot ♪

♪ but I'm not and soon they'll see ♪

♪ I'm the son of Sir Rowland de Boys! ♪

♪ and his spirit grow, grow, grows in me ♪

♪ and I'm the only one ♪

♪ who can live up to his brave and righteous name ♪

♪ I'm the son of Sir Rowland de Boys! ♪

♪ and his spirit show, show, shows in me ♪

♪ so brother better beware ♪

♪ I'm becoming the man I'm supposed to be! ♪

[Ato] His brother is supposed to be there for him.

And to uplift him.

But...

He doesn't, he kind of leaves him on his own.

Because his pursuit is power and money.

♪ So brother better beware ♪

♪ I'm becoming the man I'm supposed to be! ♪

♪ the man I'm supposed to, supposed to ♪

♪ tonight, when I wrestle in the championship ♪

♪ I'm gonna earn the honor I've been needing for so long ♪

♪ I'm gonna prove their version of me wrong ♪

♪ I'm gonna make the whole world understand ♪

♪ If only someone would understand ♪

And that lostness, that anger that he feels

has to be rectified somehow.

So he does something almost suicidal.

Throws himself in this wrestling match

in which he's bound to be killed.

And instead of being killed, he triumphs.

And in triumphing he attracts the attraction of Rosalind.

Who, as the play goes on,

disguises herself as a man

and gives him the education that he was denied by his brother.

[Rebecca] In terms of Rosalind's romantic love,

and how much we see her immediately fall for Orlando,

she doesn't sacrifice one love for another.

She wants to take care of her cousin,

she wants to take care of...

You know, the elders. And she also wants to,

ultimately, get to have her romantic love.

[Ato] There's a change that happens

when he enters the forest of Arden.

Where he goes from...

From the concerns of power, money and status

to what is natural and maybe spiritual

and what his soul might be.

[guitar instrumental music]

[Oskar] The form of resistance, inAs You Like It ,

is going to the forest and creating a better society.

Creating a magical world in Arden.

[Christine] We have community.

What could be broken? How could that be broken?

There are folks that are coming home

after years of the trauma of incarceration.

That are dancing.

That are on stage.

That, I mean, what a way!

I am here!

It was just something, I don't what this something is.

But it was something about being in the presence

of Public Theater.

Like being in the presence of art.

How it developed my life today.

You're not defined by your worst mistake.

As You Like It was something that

I really had to tune into.

Because of her name happened to have my name.

Rosalind.

It was representing me

and how I can conquer different hurdles.

And how I can get to different strategies,

and knowing that any mountain

I can climb.

I think Rosalind is a woman of principle.

And she is a woman of immense capacity for love

that she is very excited to share.

[piano tone]

[cheering and clapping]

[Shaina] She had to stay behind in this oppressive regime.

When her father and everyone

she knew and loved have been cast out to Arden,

she can't say or do anything, or be herself authentically.

The costumes that we wear, the roles we play,

all the world's a stage, etc.

And the line before,

the song moment was supposed to happen in her head

is her cousin being like, "Don't be sad.

I know your dad is gone and everything sucks,

but you should be happy.

And be like Rosalind, be merry."

And the idea that she would be replaying all these messages

that women so often get,

like, "Smile, be happy, don't be such a B word..."

Reclaim that we are entitled

to feeling the full spectrum of emotions.

And don't just exist to be sweet

and kind of accommodating all the time.

♪ Rosalind, be merry ♪

♪ Rosalind, be bright ♪

♪ even though your heart is breaking ♪

♪ act like you are alright ♪

♪ Rosalind, be pleasant ♪

♪ Rosalind, agree ♪

♪ Rosalind, just play the girl you're supposed to be ♪

♪ Rosalind, be rosy ♪

♪ Rosalind, be gay ♪

♪ Rosalind, don't speak ♪

♪ unless you have something nice to say ♪

♪ Rosalind, get ready, it's nearly time to go ♪

♪ dress up like a puppet and put on another show ♪

♪ If they only knew ♪

♪ what's underneath the costume ♪

♪ underneath the costume ♪

♪ Rosalind, be lovely ♪

♪ smile, won't you dear? ♪

♪ You'll mess up you make up if you shed another tear ♪

♪ cover up your sadness ♪

♪ tuck it in your bra ♪

♪ it makes us uncomfortable when women have a flaw ♪

♪ Rosalind, be simple ♪

♪ Rosalind, be small ♪

♪ don't you dare to hope for freaking anything at all ♪

♪ Rosalind, don't lose it ♪

♪ Rosalind, don't swear ♪

♪ pain and grief and rage are not appropriate to wear ♪

♪ tonight at the games you'll nod and applaud ♪

♪ like a good little fraud ♪

♪ my God, if they only knew ♪

♪ what's underneath the costume ♪

For such a long time, I felt like I've had to...

please others, right? Especially as a woman.

♪ Rosalind, be careful ♪

♪ keep yourself in check ♪

♪ better not break character or they could break your neck ♪

Not taking up too much space.

Not being too loud.

Not speaking my mind.

The reason why that song

and these themes of female empowerment

and the show are so important to me

it's because it resonates with my own journey

of learning to say:

"You know what? I'm not gonna live up to the things

you expect of me."

[Kelly] Children's Aid Society was one of the first partners

at the Public Works program.

For many of the young singers,

maybe they are not getting a lot of acceptance

for who they are at home, at school or with friends.

[Mayelyn] So when we built this show

it felt very much like us.

Like we were speaking.

As opposed to taking on these roles and just telling this story.

♪ but girl, I know you're lying ♪

♪ cause I'm giving you a death stare ♪

The Phoebe I got to play,

she's somebody who knows what she wants.

She's no nonsense.

She's incredibly empowered.

And she can stand her ground.

♪ Cause nobody will ever love me ♪

♪ like you do ♪

♪ you want me, ♪

♪ I want you ♪

♪ you choose me, I choose you ♪

♪ and I know you won't refuse me ♪

♪ so I Silvia you ♪

♪ you'll Silvia me? ♪

♪ I Silvia you ♪

♪ oh sweet Phoebe ♪

[Laurie] Another reason why we choseAs You Like It

was the opportunity that it presented

for us to investigate who gets to love.

And...

Up into that point in time

any of the couples that existed in the Shakespeare plays

that we presented were man and woman

that were getting married.

But Public Works is incredibly diverse,

we have lots of same sex partners

that exist within our community.

That have been working on the pageants.

And we just felt it was really an opportunity for us to...

Put all forms of love on stage.

I would say it was one of the main reasons

why Shaina and I wanted to do As You Like It.

♪ from the moment I saw you I knew ♪

♪ you knew? ♪

♪ all it took was just one second to know ♪

♪ I wanna marry you ♪

♪ you're the most pure and perfect ♪

♪ Andy heaven could bring ♪

♪ I would only change a couple of things ♪

♪ no other man is worthy of your gorgeous features ♪

♪ my features ♪

♪ you deserve a devoted romance ♪

♪ baby, give me one more chance ♪

♪ will you be my groom? ♪

♪ I'll love you right and true ♪

♪ please make me the happiest man and say I do ♪

[Joél] Just having an experience of queer joy was great.

They were always sad stories.

Great, we could be just in love. We can just love each other.

♪ And when we run off in the sunset ♪

♪ as the perfect pair ♪

♪ I'll hold you in my arms so you'll know I'll be there ♪

♪ until they bury me in my tomb ♪

♪ will you be my groom? ♪

♪ yes I will, yes I will, yes I will ♪

♪ will you be my groom? ♪

♪ yes I will, yes I will, yes I will ♪

♪ will you be my groom? ♪

♪ oh you know I'm gonna be your groom Touchstone ♪

♪ Andy be my groom ♪

♪ la da da da da da da da oh ♪

♪ will you be my groom? ♪

♪ groom, groom, groom ♪

[audience applauds]

[Troy] I'm a black queer male.

AndAs You Like It remains

the only time in my career that I've been asked to play

specifically a black queer male.

So it felt really significant for me

and I felt really seen

in a way that I didn't know I needed to be seen,

which was really important.

[Laurie] We had a female heroine in the lead role.

And it was around election time. And we have thought

that the outcome of the election was going to be very different.

And so we wrote the musical in real time,

pre- and post-election.

So, as we were putting together and editing the story

and figuring out where we wanted to align up the songs,

the election came and it passed

and then we discovered that LGBTQ,

women's rights, immigrant's rights were under assault.

And it just so happened

that the story of William Shakespeare's,

As You Like It is the perfect container for us

to really investigate that story in 2017.

The community, I could see them realize:

"Oh, plays are so much more than just a great costume

and singing and dancing on stage."

We are actually citizen artists telling a story,

advocating for our community in this time,

in the first year of a Trump presidency.

And it was so incredibly powerful to witness.

[guitar instrumental music]

[Rebecca] It's a shame we didn't get to do this summer

because it feels like everything we were feeling in 2017

has just, you know, compounded, and...

It just feels even more urgent

that we band together with our people

and our people's people.

And form a resistance and...

And show up for each other, really.

♪ sha la la la la ♪

♪ under the greenwood tree ♪

♪ come and live with me ♪

♪ if you want to be free ♪

♪ under the greenwood tree ♪

♪ under the greenwood tree ♪

♪ I will not be free ♪

♪ until we're all free ♪

♪ under the greenwood tree ♪

♪ under the greenwood tree ♪

♪ you shall see no enemy ♪

♪ you shall see no enemy ♪

♪ you shall see no enemy ♪

♪ do not fear ♪

♪ all are welcome here ♪

♪ do not fear ♪

♪ all are welcome ♪

[Orlando] Forbear, and eat no more!

He dies that touches any of this fruit.

Till I and my affairs are answered.

[Jaques] An you'll not be answered with reason, I must die.

[Orlando] -Forbear, I say. [Duke] -What would you have?

Your gentleness shall force more

than your force move us to gentleness.

I almost die for food, and let me have it.

Sit down and feed,

and welcome to our table.

That moment where Orlando invades theGreenwood Tree ...

scene with a sword, right?

And he is sort of ready to attack.

Everybody sort of embraces him and accepts him,

that's not something that we had to pretend.

It's very real to Public Works.

Like, we have people from all of sorts of background

and all sorts of...

life stories that I think outside

of the context of Public Works

would sort of ostracize and marginalize that person.

But our community is a space

where they can let go of the pretense

and they can be loved and embraced and accepted.

[music continues]

♪ under the greenwood tree ♪ ♪

♪ we shall see no enemy ♪

♪ we shall see no enemy ♪

♪ do not fear ♪

♪ all are welcome here ♪

♪ do not fear ♪

♪ all are welcome here ♪

♪ under the greenwood tree ♪

♪ under the greenwood tree ♪

♪ sha la la la la ♪

You know, it's dealing with that fear.

Because what fear creates is great ignorance,

great closing offs.

How you can so

deny people who come here for opportunities.

Who are looking for, you know,

that dream in which, you know,

the United States is supposedly built on.

Singing the song Under The Greenwood Tree .

And coming to this potluck

It transcends when the Public Theater is done

and the play is over

and we go back to our community.

It's truly a love letter to New York City.

And all of the parts of that city.

[Christine] Food from all over,

languages from all over.

[Laurie] The song that gets me every single time,

Under the Greenwood Tree.

We just put a Public Works potluck on stage.

And the idea of potlucks come out of communities.

And the communities were like, "We have to see each other,

we'’re not gonna wait a year

until we're connected together again."

[guitar instrumental music]

When we could meet on the lawns of Central Park

to have these dinners just before this play,

And meet on stage to act out

you know, our lives.

[Vivian] The potlucks are fabulous.

And they do it once a month.

That's the time you can go

and let people know what you're doing,

what is going on.

The Public, we share information.

All year long, it goes on.

I met people from the Bronx.

I met people from Manhattan.

Which I live in Brooklyn, so you wouldn't normally go out

and meet people from the Bronx.

[piano music playing]

[Christine] All complexions, all creed and races

could seat under the Greenwood tree.

How we could,

you know, just imagine a world that is possible.

That would look like that, there is no border.

There is no border under the Greenwood tree.

[Laurie] It's very personal for me.

As a first generation Latina,

I did not think that I had access.

I was allowed to participate.

As I like to say, I didn't think I was invited to the table.

And I would ask my mother,

"Oh! I wanna do what those people are doing!"

She'd say, "No,mi hija , we don't do that."

And so it really felt at a very early age

that art was for the privileged.

But I was always a kid that was like,

"But, why don't I get to?"

[instrumental music]

Under The Greenwood Tree is really about

how are we in the darkest times

still able to come together as a community,

and find things to celebrate.

[piano music playing]

As You Like It , really highlights different people

and different people coming together.

Because their differences weren't accepted.

[Ato] It's amazing to have something like this show

and this Forest of Arden moment to look at,

and be like, this is a possibility.

This is an entertainment, this is a fiction, but actually,

it's modeling something that we could...

we could incorporate into our lives.

Like, it is speaking directly to this moment,

by saying, "Look, if we are generous, if we are grateful,

if we can share with our fellow man,

then we can have more than we need, actually."

[Maddie] I studied acting when I was younger.

[laughing]

In my 20's.

I came from...

I was born here,

but my parents took me to the Dominican Republic.

And I did middle school, high school over there.

I always wanted to study acting,

but I come from old fashion folks

and that wasn't an option.

[guitar playing]

And I never thought I was gonna end up doing it.

I mean I thought that dream was over for me.

But it was very nice, it was more than nice actually.

But I remember the first night that we did the show.

I cried as soon as I came off stage

because I was never in front of so many people

and it was just so amazing.

I was one of the minions to Duke Frederik,

He swears he has not seen his brother, Orlando,

since the wrestling.

[audience laughing]

The minions that we formed up into our little military squad

supporting Duke Frederick,

we became a real tight team.

And one of the things about it is that

myself and one of the other members were ex-military.

So, part of it was marching.

It just came to me

that we should be like a military contingent.

Like a small squad, a platoon or something.

♪ no one is getting married tomorrow ♪

♪ no one is getting married tomorrow ♪

♪ mount your horses, men let's go ♪

♪ cause no one is getting married tomorrow! ♪

[James] There's a reconciliation between the two dukes.

The fairest duke and the evil fascist duke.

And we put down our arms

and join the company.

And become part of the larger group.

And at that moment, when we re-assimilate into the ensemble

was so heart warming because we were gonna join the members

of our actual family.

[Under Greenwood Tree song]

[James] In our minds,

these individuals that we mashed into the group

were actually family members

taking us back from military service.

♪ shall see no enemy ♪

♪ shall see no enemy ♪

[Jamie] The good guys, we gotta win,

but you see this incredible, just experience this thing,

this feeling of hope and love.

This is the stuff.

This darkness... we'll be able to...

It will collapse, it will collapse.

They'll get love too, dude.

It's like, "Wait, no guys, wait, wait".

We all, we can all be here.

Immigrants, different status, New Yorkers, domestic workers.

We got the people here, we got this.

[Christine] If the politicians

and the folks who are in the seat of power

should take a cue from us on the stage

at Delacorte Theater.

What a wonderful world we would really have.

[Laurie] In this year of 2020,

when we are supposed to be in there right now,

performing for four weeks.

The benefit of this investment in each other

has really helped, I can speak for myself.

But we are holding each other in this time.

We know we will come back together again.

We are collectively figuring out ways to share the love.

[soothing music]

[Jamie] All of these incredible things

are happening, are still happening virtually.

I think individuals that are currently incarcerated

are five times more likely to contract...

Covid-19.

And three times more likely to die from it.

When they were trying to, allegedly,

release as many people as they could,

Fortune, at the height of the pandemic,

so this is...

It opens its doors in mid-April.

It opens a brand new housing facility.

It's called Freedom House.

Like, what?

38 New Yorkers that were inside and were classified as homeless

and they, without an address to parole to,

they sort of just would have been stuck.

They opened a whole housing facility.

[laughing]

Yeah.

I am a nursing attendant

in St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

And we were one of the hospitals that was hit the worst.

My community was hit so badly, I lost co-workers.

This spring we've been dealing with the Covid crisis

and the economic fallout.

We've been serving meals.

So, as coalition we've served

over one million meals since March.

DreamYard served over ten thousand,

we serve meals five days a week.

Whether or not they are performing on stage

this year, they continue to be artists.

In the way that they make art,

in the way that they live their lives.

In the way that they maintain relationships with each other.

I've gotten to see another layer and another facet of community,

and how they show up for each other,

specifically because of Covid

that I would not have seen otherwise.

[Gail] In partnership, Casita Maria started providing

about one thousand meals a day for community members.

People can come in, no questions asked,

you can pick up three meals

for as many family members that you have.

[Oskar] We can't let this pandemic stop us.

This pandemic will slow us down.

This pandemic will kill many of us,

but it won't kill all of us.

And we will come back together

and we will celebrate what there is to celebrate.

We will mourn those we've lost,

and we will commit to building a better world in their name.

And the Delacorte stands there, empty right now.

But it's empty expectantly, it's waiting.

It's waiting to be the place

where New York can come back together

and proclaim itself open again.

[birds singing]

♪ all the world's a stage ♪

♪ all the world's a stage ♪

♪ then we get older our make-up fades away ♪

♪ our voices become tired ♪

♪ after all the lines we did our best to say ♪

♪ then our finale ♪

♪ struggling to make sense of all we've known ♪

♪ we look around the theater ♪

♪ and realize we've never been alone ♪

♪ all the world's a stage ♪

-Mikhaila. -See, we're all good.

-Start recording? -Yeah.

-We'll be there. -We just--

[laughing] Oh my God.

All right, let's go, let's do this.

[piano playing]

I did not warm up.

Do you wanna sing with mommy?

[piano playing]

♪ on the heaviest day ♪

♪ on the bitterest night ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ when I'm tired and hungry and we're in a fight ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ as we change and we grow ♪

♪ as we ripen and rot ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ when nothing turns out quite the way that we thought ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love you! ♪

♪ when I'm scared to lay bare all the pain in my chest ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ at our bravest and weakest our worst and our best ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ when we lose all our hair and our teeth and our minds ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ when the scenery falls and I mess up my lines ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ I make a promise ♪

♪ I make a vow ♪

♪ to myself, to you, to everyone ♪

♪ right now! ♪

♪ when the world tries to tears us apart at the seams ♪

♪ when life makes it hard to keep chasing our dreams ♪

♪ when we're messy and weepy and feeble and old ♪

♪ when we don't have a clue ♪

♪ what the future will hold ♪

[Roslyn] The songs really helped me

because I didn't think I could ever love again.

And that song had showed me

that I can love anybody again.

So the cast members of that play

really helped me come out my shell,

really helped me open up

and gave me the opportunity to say,

"Yes, love.

I must love again."

Oh my God!

And still I will love, even in this coronavirus, right?

I still love, like, love is the key.

♪ when the curtain falls at last ♪

[Laurie] In Shakespeare's As You Like It

the character of Jaques is basically a cynic.

But our goal was to explore her as an artist

who's asking the question: "Why does art even matter?"

Throughout the course of the play,

Jaques discovers that art is relevant

because it requires love.

Love is the most radical and revolutionary action

we can take.

Love is what makes art matter.

[Ato] There is this moment at the end of the play

where the character of Jaques hands it off to a younger Jaques.

Sorry.

Hum.

What we do is of this moment,

but it's also of a lineage.

It's also something we're handing to other people,

to younger generations.

♪ we leave behind the scenes ♪

♪ the steps we learned along the way ♪

♪ And hope they live to see a better version of the play ♪

[piano music playing]

♪ all the world's a stage ♪

♪ and everybody's in the show ♪

♪ nobody's a pro ♪

[Oskar] It's time to pass the baton.

It's time to let other people,

younger people, have a chance to lead,

and have a chance to be

the storytellers of their own stories.

♪ trying to tell a story we can feel ♪

♪ how do you make the magic real? ♪

♪ Love makes magic real ♪

[guitar music playing]

[applause] [cheering]

[Oskar] There's a few things I've done

in my career that really matter.

Angels In America ,

Hamilton ,

and Public Works is right up there

at the top of that list.

Because Public Works is a model of what the theater can do.

[guitar music playing]

I know that when I'm in my last moments looking back

it's gonna be enormously comforting to me

that I was part of Public Works.

[guitar music playing]

I hope you feel really great about what you've accomplished

and what you shared with New York City.

-Have a great one! -[all] Thank you!

[Ato] Building community isn't just for this moment.

It's so we can hand something to people

that they can feel welcome in.

[applause]

We're not building communities for ourselves,

we are building communities so it ripples out.

And it continues after we're gone, you know?

[guitar music playing]

[people talking]

[Christine] And all those things conjured up in that play.

Immigration, LGBTQ, discrimination.

And here we have this pandemic of Covid-19,

and Black Lives Matter.

Policemen kneeling on over necks, children in cages, you know what?

This community will not be shattered.

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love you ♪

[vibrant music]

[Shaina] And to have a gay wedding

with a Middle Eastern celebratory dance

it was just this sort of our radical act of joy

countering all the negative forces that were happening.

♪ still I will love ♪

Instead of encountering an abstract politicized idea,

you're clapping for an amazing song and dance number

that happens to culminate in this gay wedding.

Because how can you resist the power of musical theater?

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

[vibrant music]

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

[roaring]

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

[Laurie] The more arts organizations

can truly turn to their communities,

and find ways to lock arms

and collaborate together and move forward,

is the future of the American theater.

So, I know we're going to come back,

I know we're gonna come back stronger.

I know we will do Public Works.

I know that the message of Public Works will resonate

at the time that we tell it.

I know our community will come back even more committed to making sure

that they send out that gift to their city.

And we'll continue to grow together.

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ as we change and we grow ♪

♪ as we ripen and rot ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ when nothing turns out quite the way that we thought ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love you ♪

♪ when I'm scared to lay bare all the pain in my chest ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ at our bravest and weakest our worst and our best ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ when we lose all our hair and our teeth and our minds ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ when the scenery falls and I mess up my lines ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ I make a promise ♪

♪ I make a vow ♪

♪ to myself, to you, to everyone ♪

♪ right now ♪

♪ when the world tries to tear us apart at the seams ♪

♪ when life makes it hard to keep chasing our dreams ♪

♪ when we're messy and weepy and feeble and old ♪

♪ when we don't have a clue ♪

♪ what the future will hold ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love ♪

♪ still I will love you ♪

[vibrant music fades]

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