Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Sparkling Diffraction of Stories and Spirit

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf

Written by Ntozake Shange
Directed by Elizabeth Carter
September 15-29, 2018

African-American Shakespeare Company
Taube AtriumTheater, 401 Van Ness Avenue

Ntozake Shange’s 1975 choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf lives again in a remarkable new production directed by Elizabeth Carter that bursts, vibrates and sings its stories of loss, joy, pain, strength and most of all, resilience.

Natasha LaGrone, Bobbi Kindred, Tiffany Tenille

Seven unique characters are simply named “Lady in Brown” (Jan Hunter), “Lady in Yellow” (Tiffany Tenille), "Lady in Purple" (Bobbi Kindred), "Lady in Red" (Paige Mayes), "Lady in Green" (Brittany Nicole Sims), "Lady in Blue" (Natasha LaGrone), and "Lady in Orange" (Regina Monique). Each speaks the rich and musical monologue that is their story, each voice a thread that interweaves with the others to create a strong fabric of power and pride.

Tiffany Tenille, Jan Hunter, Regina Monique, Bobbi Kindre

This is a simple, elegant production in the newly restored Taube Atrium Theater, and the creative collaboration of the all-female cast and production crew is evident. The lighting design by Stephanie Anne Johnson subtly suggests a cityscape, and the set design (Randy Wong-Westbrooke) uses moveable frames for each Lady to act as portals, cages, islands, and personal stages for the stories. The minimal set suggests that it is the stories that endure, despite the time and place.

Paige Mayes and Tiffany Tenille

Choreographer Kendra Kimbrough Barnes taps into the rhythm of emotion that informs this play, adding depth to the stories. Especially beautiful are the sensual and flowing dances by Lady in Red (Paige Mayes) and Lady in Yellow (Tiffany Tenille).

After the show, a male audience member was moved to tears, saying “I didn’t know what women had to go through.”

Support from the sisters

Although created in the 70s, For Colored Girls... remains a classic celebration of the hearts and souls of black women--and all women---as they struggle to find and celebrate their voice.

Weaving the stories


For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf

CAST
Jan Hunter — Lady in Brown
Bobbi Kindred — Lady in Purple
Natasha LaGrone — Lady in Blue
Brittany Nicole Sims — Lady in Green
Regina Monique — Lady in Orange
Tiffany Tenille — Lady in Yellow
Paige Mayes — Lady in Red

PRODUCTION TEAM
Director — Elizabeth Carter
Set Designer — Randy Wong-Westbrooke
Lighting Designer — Stephanie Anne Johnson
Costume Designer — Nikki Anderson-Joy
Production Manager & Stage Manger — Leontyne Mbele-Mbong
Design Execution — Kate Boyd
Sound Designer — Lana Palmer
Choreographer — Kendra Kimbrough Barnes

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