WHY THIS FILM
“God has given you one face and you make yourselves another.”
This film is not only about race. It is about doing what others say is impossible. When Bert Waters is offered the chance to be the first black actor to perform Shakespeare on a Broadway stage, it is the most treacherous endeavor of his life, challenging his confidence, threatening his career, his family -- even risking his life.
This film is about masks. The masks that some wear to make themselves feel superior as they demean others— which is what took place when white performers started wearing blackface in the 1830s. This film also touches on the masks that many of us put on today to be accepted, loved, and even to hide, play it safe, and be “nobody.”
When Bert Waters is offered the chance to play Hamlet, he struggles with taking off his cover. Who is he to think, especially in 1918, that he could play a Shakespearean role, not to mention Hamlet on Broadway? It had never been done. He's made a living performing in blackface, and now he must take off his mask and show the world - and even himself - who he truly is.
How many of us struggle with feeling like an impostor, asking ourselves questions like:
Who am I to start a business?
Who am I to go to college?
Who am I to try to make a difference in this world?
Who am I to do one of the millions of things we as human beings desire for ourselves?
This film flips those questions on their head and asks, who are you not to do one of the millions of things we as human beings desire for ourselves? And when you do - what does it mean?