Ntozake Shange, writer of “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf”, has given me and countless other actresses across the country the opportunity to give personality to her poetry. There is nothing like being in a live performance of this powerful work. I was first exposed to “Colored Girls” in college back in the early 80’s. Frankly my first impression was that this woman is really angry and bitter. Even harder still was reading the broken English and the way the poems were arranged on the page. I just couldn’t connect.
It wasn’t until some 20 years later that I experienced this work in its most intimate form. I put myself, and life experience into the work. No, I hadn’t experienced everything, but I knew some sister-friend who had. I certainly was no stranger to pain, loss, heartache and betrayal. I became “every woman”. I allowed myself to
feel through each poem, its rhythmic heartbeat. Sometimes exuberant, sometimes heavy, so many more emotions than I can possible express here.
Being a part of this production, bringing the choreo-poems to life with 6 of the most beautiful women I have had the pleasure to know, has been a blessing. One of which happens to be my daughter. She joined the cast when one of the actresses became ill. As a cast, we have bonded, shared, cried, laughed and danced. We connected on a spiritual level because we were open to it. We are in a safe place to be real and heal. In turn, the people, men and women alike who come to see the play have been touched in a powerful way.
We are part of a unique sisterhood that I will hold in my heart for the rest of my life. What became apparent to me is the “motherly” nature of my being. I realize I am moving into a different role as “elder” and nurturer. I am grateful, its a good place.
I believe God is always at work around us. He can use what ever He wants to speak to us, not always under steeples. He takes the simple things, like plays, to reveal His message, plans and ways to us. Its what we listen to, that can make great changes in our lives.
We have “talk-backs” after each performance. They generate a lot of good discussion, healing, awareness and draws women closer. They discover that Love was there all along, sometimes just under the scabs of old hurt and pain, just waiting to be scraped away and seen. Women discover what they share in common, that they are still standing, still fighting, still believing. And like the last line in the play exclaims, “I found God in myself and I love her fiercely!”. God is Love. Love doesn’t hurt!
Learn to be open, be loved, be fearless, be healed, be free. You are not alone.
From one “Colored Girl” to another