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REVIEWS

“For Colored Girls…” at Afterthought Is Poignant and Powerful


For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf is a unique piece of theatre that is often referred to as a “choreo-poem”. For Colored Girls… has no traditional narrative, and instead consists of 20 short pieces, poems and short stories. Traditionally performed by seven women, representing the colors of the rainbow, the pieces address what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be colored, with all the suffering and celebration that entails.

Ntozake Shange’s Writing Powerful Despite Lack of Narrative

HE SAID: Full disclosure – I had never heard of this piece before, despite it winning a Pulitzer. I was a little concerned with how much I could relate to the material given the lack of narrative and its indicated target audience. That said, the emotions conveyed in this piece are so strong, so raw, and so universal they directly speak to the heart of any person. I had no problem losing myself in many of the vignettes.

SHE SAID: I read this play in college, but have never seen it performed. I was really shocked with how natural even some of the more poetic pieces are when performed well. I was concerned that the piece might embody the more alienating qualities of performance art, but instead it nailed relatable, raw human emotion more than most traditional plays with more narrative ever do.

Performances by Moor and Pollard Are Heartfelt Highlights

HE SAID: While I believe the piece would resonate differently with a cast of seven as written, this production’s cast of five is solid, with every woman having her own moment to shine. Personally, ZZ Moor really drew me into to every word of every scene, especially the second to last story titled “Beau Willy Brown.” She performed the heartbreaking story so close to flawlessly that I had a hard time speaking with her after the show because I was still so affected by her performance.

SHE SAID: I completely agree that the performances were all strong, but Moor stood out as almost excruciatingly touching. I actually don’t think I ever applauded for her work because I was too moved to remember my role as an audience member. I was also really blown away by Kenya Pollard, who played the woman in green. She was incredibly powerful and natural in the fiery piece, “Somebody Almost Walked Off Wid Alla My Stuff” in the second act.

Performances Outshine Technical Elements

HE SAID: While acting and story telling were superb, the show was a tad lackluster in the technical areas. The five skinny flat panels for the set added nothing and (at times) were distracting to me. The lights, though nicely designed, could have been better executed. That said, the simplistic beauty of the individualized black dresses really kept the focus on the performers and their stories, while defining personality through the varying patterns and colored flower on each dress.

SHE SAID: I agree that the set didn’t add to the piece at all, but I never found it distracting. I did think that the lights could have been a bit better tailored to fit the piece, with some important moments occurring in shadow or darkness. Honestly, though, by the middle of the first act the performances were so riveting I stopped noticing. I also completely agree that the costumes were appropriate and extremely flattering, emphasizing that each woman was gorgeous in a different way.

Afterthought Theatre Makes Lasting Impressions with Unique Pieces

THEY SAID: Following the company’s very intellectual first production, The Meeting, this strongly emotional offering is another layer to a what is shaping up to be a valuable addition to the Denver theatre community. Aside from her splendid performance abilities, Director Reynelda Snell and the rest of the artistic staff of Afterthought Theatre seem to have a knack for picking pieces that leave a lingering presence, which is a rare beauty in art. We highly recommend that you get your tickets now for their upcoming closing weekend.

Curious about this choreo-poem? Please see the wikipedia synopsis. For Colored Girls… plays Friday, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30 pm and Saturdays at 2 pm until September 19. For tickets and more information, click on the banner below.

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  1. Pingback: Weekend foreCAST – Gravity Defied and Afterthought | He Said/She Said Critiques - April 13, 2011

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