For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow I
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf
By Nrozake Shange
Directed by Daniel Boisrond
Breakthrough Theatre, Winter Park FL</strong>
Why it is black men are so sexy before you’re pregnant, and so sleazy afterwards? That’s the thought that rattled around in my head at the end of this intense exploration of the Black Female Experience. Exploring the Black anything experience isn’t as popular a it used to be, but this collection of poems, stories and choreography still excites, intrigues, and moves. The seven actresses are only known by the colors of their monochrome headbands, belts and scarves but they take on myriad roles. Each comes from a different major city, that’s really peripheral; these stories are largely out of specific time or space.
Lady in Brown (Debra Foxx) begins with an introductory monolog “Sing a Black Girls Song” but even before the show started the cast moved slowly on stage as the crowd entered the room. Lady in Yellow (Shellita Boxie) launched into an upbeat story of graduation night, she was the only remaining virgin in her class and decided this was her the big night and she would take full advantage of it. The Lady in Blue (Vanessa Valdez) has a touch of Spanish blood and heads up to Spanish Harlem for a dance marathon. Taking no crap from anyone, when pressed she speaks loudly and in English, just to show who’s who. Lady in Orange (Charmion Sparrow) led a group complaint about rape – if you’ve ever talked to a guy or danced with him, that makes anything he does OK, and that just ain’t right. Lady in Brown returned to talk about winning the 2nd grade reading competition but gets disqualified because she read books from the adult section of the library. Lady in Purple (Kisha Peart) mused upon spurned love and Lady in Green (Felichia Chivaughn) drew a parallel between stealing your heart and stealing your TVset. But Lady in Red (Evelyn Tyler) brought the toughest piece of all to stage – she tells of her man abusing her and destroying her children in a failed attempt to force marriage.
As the show runs along, there are knowing nods and calls from the audience. The performances are in near constant motion, and with no choreographer listed I’ll give that excellent credit to director Boisrond. It’s hard to pick anyone who out shone the others, this was an exceptionally balanced group and each let you know that no matter how bad things sounded they knew exactly what their color felt like in real life. This is a striking show and one not often performed, and while its 35 years old, I suspect not much has changed in the way people torture the ones they love.
For more information, please visit http://www.breakthroughtheatre.com