Friday, July 29, 2011

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

AfterThought Theatre Company
at Dayton Street Theatre, 1648 Dayton St., Aurora

Plays through Aug. 6
Fri. & Sat., 7:30pm, Sun. 5:30pm
Tickets online or at 303-856-3797

When I think back to the wonderful production of FOR COLORED GIRLS . . . , a lot of "S" words come to mind: sinuous, sexy, slithering, sophisticated, scintillating. Seven beautiful African-American women take the stage confidentally and speak the words that make Ntozake Shange's poetry come to life. They walk the walk, tell the stories, dance the dance, and live the life of Shange's women. In their slinky (another "S" word) black gowns, each adorned with an identifying color accessory, they explore the world of the contemporary black woman. Although the show was written in 1975 and originally performed on Broadway in 1977, its stories and emotions are as real today as they were 35 years ago.

The amazing ensemble consists of Juannean Young (Orange), Ebony Booth (Red), Devonne-Lee (Purple), Stephanie Hancock (Brown), Kenya Pollard (Green) and Joi Phillips-Daniels (Blue), with Renelda Snell, the artistic direcor of Afterthoughts, as the Lady in Yellow. They work together like a finely tuned machine, supporting one other in the telling of the stories, and sharing the moments of each woman's experience. There are short poems and longer essays; there are stories set to music and stories set to the stark color of life. There are funny stories about losing your virginity in the back seat of a car, and finding a playmate that has the same name as your hero, Toussaint. There are poems about strength—like the woman who chastises her man for walking off with all her “stuff” and how she wants her personal “stuff” back so she can continue life as a free, independent sister. And the group poem about women who are tired of hearing “Sorry” from their men. And the heartbreaking story of "A Nite with Beau Willie Brown," a tale of extreme spousal abuse that comes to a tragic end. From beginning to end, it's a stupendous, shattering evening (see what I mean? More “S's”).

This show has a very short run, so you've only got two more weekends to catch it. For all you Boulderites, it's worth the drive, and one of the best Mexican restaurants in town—La Cueva—is across the alley. Make a date night of it!

A wow factor of 8 1/2 for COLORED GIRLS!

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