'Women of Diverse Hues'
Commentary by Karen Jones on State St. Productions' performance of Ntozake Shange's for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, performed at Changing Spaces in Albany
Photos by Lori Kane.
From left: Dionne Wheatley, Shannon Brown, Karen Jones, Amanda Bansgopaul, Christine Blaine
Clockwise from left: Amanda Bansgopaul, Karen Jones, Christine Blaine, Aminata Stephens, Dionne Wheatley, Shannon Brown, Aprilis Dublin
Dionne Wheatley, Aminata Stephens, Shannon Brown
Christine Blaine, Aprilis Dublin, Shannon Brown
Aminata Stephens, Dionne Wheatley, Shannon Brown, Aprilis Dublin
Karen Jones (director)
Commentary by Karen Jones, Director
i am on the other side of the rainbow / picking
up the pieces of days spent waitin for the poem to be heard /
while you listen / i have other work to do
New York, 1976
Ntozake Shange's choreopoem, "for colored girls who have
considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf," is a product
of the poetry movement in early 1970s Berkley, California, when
women of diverse hues were filled with wild and ripe words. Until
that time, black women thirsted for venues of self-expression.
Theatrical pieces about black America focused on their male counterparts.
Shange developed "for colored girls..." from the lack
of our voice. She wrote and compiled pieces from various performances
which changed the face of American theater. Due to its wildfire
popularity, "for colored girls..." opened at New York's
Booth's theater in September of 1976.
The piece is a collection of poems told by seven women, each
character represented by a color. My personal experience with
the piece is a circle.
As a child, I remember my parents going to a performance and
being fascinated with the program. As a college student, I performed
as Lady in Red with all of the intensity associated with that
Recently, I had the pleasure of producing, directing and performing
the piece at Changing Spaces, a multi-media space in Albany, N.Y.
"for colored girls..." awakened my spirit as a young
girl. It lit a fire in me as an eager theater student.
My recent experience fills me with the power which is the focal
point of the piece -- the power of expression utilized by black
American women in words and movement.