FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE/ WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF
April 30, 2022
Fierce and fanciful, the women of for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf intentionally animate their innermost feelings through verse and movement.
Directed and choreographed by an impressive talent, Camille A. Brown, this Broadway revival of the choreopoem by Ntzoke Shange (published in 1975 and produced in 1976), holds its original freshness. In the 1970's poets frequently coupled words with music, and movement strengthening the overall visceral impact. Brown heartily honors Shange's vision.
An all female cast explodes in individual stories that delve into --among other things -- love, fantasy, abortion, violence, friendship, male patriarchy and female invincibility.
The day I attended, several understudies appeared, but as a whole, these alternate members sustained the cast's blazingly wholehearted investment.
Expert at excavating emotions through movement, Brown invests the performances with playful street games next to traditional African dance movements, modern and vernacular dance forms. Highly rhythmic and gestural, each performer adds a dose of their own, improvisational movement personality to the mix.
Structurally, individual actors feed in and out of the spotlight and then join in a sisterly chorus of refrains. When a cast member grabs center-stage, they relay--through patterned motions, and song-- a life-story, one that evokes exterior actions and soul-stirring reactions.
By deploying dynamic patterning, Brown keeps the edges of the stage as dynamic as the center, harnessing a force that softens and hardens with each episode.
Ms. Shange gave her women permission to be themselves, fully and unapologetically. Life actions are not weighed in terms of "good" or "bad", but rather "essential" and "non-essential."
For those scouring each imperfect day for a glimmer of hope during these troublesome times, run to the Booth Theatre for a jolt of inspiration.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis