For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf is a play written by Ntozake Shange in choreopoem, or a piece combining dance, music, and poetry. This form of artistic expression was also coined by Shange. The play is about the stories of many women of color and their struggle in a society dominated by men and racism, told by seven actresses. Written in 1975 and produced on Broadway in 1977, the play still resonates with modern audiences, Laurel Mill Playhouse and Director Michael V. Hartsfield produce a heartfelt work of exceptional artistry in their current production of the show.
The seven actresses are differentiated by a color; brown, yellow, blue, orange, green, purple and red.
Lady in Brown is played by Yvonne Paretzky. Paretzky brings some of the greatest laughs of the evening with her over the top characters. This is especially true when she portrays herself as a little girl running away to a new life in the scene called “Toussaint”. Paretzky provides another stand out moment as the strong and frightening male lover of a recently HIV positive woman in the scene “Positive.”
Nicole Woody as Lady in Yellow also brings some of the lighter moments of the evening, her engaging portrayal of the young woman losing her virginity in “Graduation Nite” is pure and beautiful.
Yasmin Holman is Lady in Blue and has many moments of excellence throughout the evening. Her depiction of the woman who is struggling with her aborting, in “abortion cycle #1” is of the most riveting scenes in the show. You feel for her as she shows her shame in the choice she felt forced to make.
As Lady in Orange we have Lynette Franklin. Franklin is also terrific, she is thought provoking in her account of a poet who dances to escape “the words.” To escape from “dying and crying.”
Chaseedaw Giles plays the lady in Green. Giles is beautiful to watch on stage, she is very effortless in her smooth movements. Her monologue, “Someone Almost Walked Off Wid Alla My Stuff” is touching. She also has a lovely dance solo (choreographed by Brook Urquhart) in the monologue “Sechita” by Lady in Purple, La’Angel Hall.
Hall is powerful as the Lady in Purple. She has a very demanding presence on stage, it is hard not to draw your eye to her. One of her most moving moments was in the scene “Pyramid” where she is joined by three of the other actresses in a scene where Hall describes the Man that they all fall for, but will hurt them all. They join together as friends in spite of the hurt they all felt.
Finally, we have Ghislaine “Gigi” Dwarka as the aptly name Lady in Red. Dwarka gives several fantastic readings, but she is superb in her heart wrenching portrayal of a woman struggling with a man suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and caring for her two young children in the scene “A Nite with Beau Willie Brown.” The climactic ending of this monologue quite literally took my breath away. Dwarka’s stunning portrayal is definitive scene stealing moment of the evening.
The show culminates in the scene, “A Layin on of Hands” the entire cast talks of what they are missing in life and how they love themselves, fiercely. This final image, where the seven talented woman culminate in the back of the stage behind them, illuminates the director and Set Designer Hartsfield’s vision. It was a beautiful ending to the show.
There are only two more chances to see this show. Run and buy tickets! You will be treated with seven very talented women performing a powerful and important piece of theater.
Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf plays through October 19th at The Laurel Mill Playhouse— 508 Main Street, in Laurel, MD. For tickets, call the box office (301) 617-9906, or purchase them online.