Even though the play was originally written and showcased in the 1970s, the piece remains as relevant as ever – particularly as the everyday struggles faced by women of colour haven’t diminished very much in spite of the #MeToo and the Black Lives Matter movements.
Staged in a rather intimate setting at KuBe, Ntozake Shange’s ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf’ takes you on a journey through womanhood as a group of women of colour relate tales of sorrow, love, hurt, life and, most importantly, what it’s like to be a woman in this world.
Ladies of colour
The entire cast – seven women comprising various nationalities, including Kenya, Tanzania, Denmark and India – delivered strong performances of their respective monologues, employing on-point voice modulation and gracious dance movements.
They were aided by a compelling narrative that enable them to slip in and out of the play, delving into their real lives and experiences. I couldn’t tell if they were actually crying as themselves, or as the characters.
Tackling social issues with grace
The drama unfolded, and story after story was brought forth to the audience – each depicting a social reality and a world of oppression and patriarchy.
Social issues were spoken of – rape, abandonment, abusive relationships, the death of their children, and racism – to a backdrop of graceful dance movements, a light background score and stage light transitions that brought a sense of ambiance.
For the two-hour duration of the play, the entire cast was on stage at all times, whipping up a whirlwind of emotions.
A series of monologues
There was no real story-telling, simply 20 monologues woven together. The theatrical flow was seamless, with one story after another knitted closely together.
Some lines really stood out and resonated with the audience. When the line “Being alive and being a woman and being coloured is a metaphysical dilemma I haven’t conquered yet” was spoken, I could definitely hear some loud sighs from the audience.
A powerful ending
The ending was both powerful and uplifting as the women came to terms with love and their colorful lives. They repeated the lines “I found God in myself”, “I loved her”, and “I loved her fiercely” until their voices fade away.
After all, as the playwright Shange herself explained: “Where there is a woman, there is magic.”
Finally, as the lady in grey concluded: “This is for colored girls who have considered suicide/ but are moving to the ends of their own rainbows”.
It really struck a chord.