MIAMI GARDENS – In college, I minored in Theatre. I read different plays and grew a liking for over-the-top acting and gestures.
Of course, I never actually broke into the theatre world, but I’ve always been interested in it. So when I received an invitation to a little Florida Memorial University play, I was ecstatic to see what this great play would be about. Then, I read the title: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.
I detest that title. I know we African Americans have a certain dialect that we use, but this title just seems all wrong; and way too long. Yes, it is award winning and star making, but play writer Ntozake Shange could have picked a better title, seeing as she has a degree in American Studies from Barnard College.
Then again, the play was written in 1975, when the Black Power Revolution was still in effect. Most African Americans were speaking this way, so I’m sure they related to the title. The show’s more than 20-year run has welcomed many an activist in the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.
Of course, you can imagine my frame of mind when I entered the Lou Rawls Theater at Florida Memorial. Coming from a younger generation, I figured this would be some crazy play with bad grammar. As an adult, I have to admit when I’m wrong. So, I was wrong.
For Colored Girls… is a choreopoem about the struggles of African-American women. It’s about what women of color think about different things, especially relationships. Now, a play full of poems is just in time for National Poetry Month, but not everyone can pull it off. This is no worry for directors Patricia Warren and Charlette Seward. The flow of poetry is seamless and awe inspiring.
Warren also stars in the play as the Lady in Red. Her colorful cast includes Olu "Sola" Bamishigbin (as Purple), Shauntira Quant (Green), Nykeah L. Cohen (Yellow), Miriam King (Blue), Aisha Brooks (Brown), Nzingha Alexander (Orange).
The women made a spectacular show of color, movement, singing, dancing, and acting. Each woman represented her own color of the rainbow beautifully.
Each poem, with its own life and energy, is like having a vivid dream of female empowerment from which you hate to awake. I know the different colors are supposed to drive the “colored girls” theme home, and it is a pleasant point well taken. All the pretty colors that the women wear are breath-taking.
In Act 2, the elaborate outfits are exquisite. Maisie McNaught, the costume designer, should be applauded for her work. I almost couldn’t get into the theme of the play for staring at all the colorfully beautiful garments, almost.
Despite feeling a drag while on my way to see For Colored Girls…, I am so glad that I went to see it. All the humor, intrigue, and drama are worth making your way to Florida Memorial. My only wish is that this troupe would carry the play longer; maybe even tour.
Alas, it is only a colorful dream.
Photo: Nykeah L. Cohen
IF YOU GO
WHAT: The play titled, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.
WHEN: Saturday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, April 27 at 5 p.m.
WHERE: Lou Rawls Theater Florida Memorial University, 15800 N.W. 42 Avenue, Miami Gardens, Fl. 33054
COST: $10 for adults, $5 for students.
CONTACT: For tickets and reservations, 305-626-3727, line 1. Joyce R. Forchion, 305-623-1410.