Romeo is black. And no one cares. While this might be big news in America, no one in London is making any fuss about Adetomiwa Edun in Romeo & Juliet, playing through August 23 at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Here, it’s just damn good theater. No nuance, no emotional triggers playing on Edun’s ethnicity.
I admit that I was excited and skeptical about it, feeling very American in my belief that this was astonishing news and curious about how the Globe Theatre’s audiences would respond. I watched with a grin, caught the Bard’s lines flying and peeped that black man kissing a white woman on stage, out in the open for the Globe to see. And my perception of racial politics, which is a vicious mixture of pride, historical memory and fear, ebbed and flowed, but never washed up onto the stage.