|Chapter One: Sixteen|
We were an
unlikely royal court family. Me, an African American queen, flanked by my
Anglo king and our blonde, blue-eyed daughter and her African American
The play was
Milne’s The Ugly Duckling and the year was 1966. The place
was Project Upward Bound at California State University, Chico and this was
my very first play. Aside from my Oro Vista Baptist Church Christmas and
Easter recitations each year as a child, this was my introduction to
performing and my entree into the world of theatre.
absolutely exhilarated playing such a powerful leading role. And to receive
the accolades of a clapping audience of family and friends that was headed
by my mother in the front role as she beamed with pride at her baby
daughter. I had never experienced anything quite like the joy of being on
non-traditional multicultural casting had been color blind. Our director,
Larry Dick, had cast based on talent. Race had nothing to do with it.
I did not know then the significance of color blind casting. I did not know that being cast based on talent and without regard to racial limitations was not the norm. I would come to be cast in other non-traditionally cast plays over the years such as in A Christmas Carol at ACT and Kabuki Medea at Berkeley Repertory Theatre; but I would also learn that I could not expect it.