Yesterday on November 21, 2019, I had the pleasure to attend the first show of ‘For colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf’. This 90-minute performance was written by Ntozake Shange and directed by Ron Himes. This production expresses the complexity of a colored woman’s identity and experience in the modern world with fervor. Additionally, the show contained potentially triggering themes such as use of homophobic slurs, sexual assault, and suicide. As you continue to indulge in my review, please keep this in mind. The following review does not contain spoilers!
As a woman of color, I went to the showing expecting excellence and representation beyond words; this show delivered that and more. The play handled challenging themes, but included segments of black culture that brought waves of joy and nostalgia which reminded me of home. PAD’s newest production left a strong impression on my heart by effectively utilized spoken word, dance, song, and visual imagery.
Without spoiling any of the performances, it’s difficult to express the beauty of the performance. The production was like a roller coaster; I found myself uplifted, devastated, elated, terrified, and disgusted with the characters. Imagery shown through the actresses’ dance, strong narratives to express individual yet familiar experiences, and the complexity of identity through performance rocked the audience’s world. There was gasping, snapping, and audible response among the crowd, which was hard not to join in with.
Additionally, the production takes place in the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre, which is smaller than our main theater. Even so, this made the performance effectively more intimate. The actresses interacted with the audience frequently, including us in the narrative and telling us their stories. Every audience member could experience the performances as a front seat viewer and the performance was a conversation. Their words directly addressed us, which made the audience more empathetic and the stories more enjoyable.
Despite the title, I encourage everyone to go see the production while it is still running. For women of color, many of the experiences will be ones you’ve heard of or personally experienced. Men of color will be able to learn more about a woman of color’s perspective and experience in the modern world. WashU students can become aware of racial, social, and cultural experiences of their peers that are important to hear and understand. Everyone can walk away having learned or been enlighten to something new after seeing this production.
In conclusion, this production gave me a lot to personally reflect on. I felt myself in the stories while also finding myself learning and empathizing with unfamiliar experiences. I hope whoever is available to see this production will go to see it. Overall, going to the show was a beautiful experience and I enjoyed every minute. Thank you to the cast, writers, production staff, and PAD staff for your hard work. Wonderful job!
Credit to the PAD for art