Choreopoem Ready to Move

Students rehearsing for a Festival Playhouse production

Rehearsal for the Festival Playhouse production of “for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf.” Photo by Emma Franzel ’17

Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College will present Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf in the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse. The play opens Thursday, November 12, at 7:30 p.m. Additional evening performances occur Friday and Saturday, November 13 and 14, at 8 p.m., and a matinee concludes the run on Sunday, November 15, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for senior citizens, and $15 for other adults. For reservations call 269.337.7333. For more information, visit the Festival Playhouse website.

Directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Karen Berthel, Shange’s “choreopoem” is an award-winning landmark in American theatre. It has been described as “a dramatic elegy for black women” and noted for poetry “that gives you chills and makes you tremble” and its thematic treatment of courage. The play recently has been made into an award-winning film.

“Through storytelling and dance For Colored Girls depicts authentic renditions of Black women’s experiences,” according to Omari Oliver ’16, who plays the role of Lady in Red.

“Shange addresses issues that women of color have dealt with for centuries,” adds Nakeya Boyles ’16, who plays the role of Lady in Yellow and serves as the production’s dramaturg. “In the face of these issues, the women have found a way to prosper and defy the odds set against them.,”

Unlike traditional scripts built upon a sequence of scenes, For Colored Girls… is a series of poems infused with movement and music. “It is important for the audience to have an open heart and mind,” Boyles says.

Movement Coach Bianca Washington has remained true to the spirit of the original show and at the same time provided creative space for individual growth and expression. “It is important for me to help guide the cast into finding their own shape with the piece.”