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The Rainbow is Enuf

Ntozake Shange production coming to Hibernian Hall

Celina Colby
Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
The Rainbow is Enuf
Cast members from the Praxis Stage production of “For Colored Girls” during a rehearsal at Hibernian Hall. (Photo: Celina Colby)

“For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf,” produced by Praxis Stage, opens at Hibernian Hall on Feb. 15. This celebrated choreo-poem by Ntozake Shange tells stories of the black female experience in a series of vignettes by characters identified as colors of the rainbow. Though the content touches on many relevant challenges, such as abortion, sexual assault and violence, the ultimate message is about female strength.

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At a rehearsal on Saturday, Jan. 27, Thomika Marie Bridwell, who plays Lady in Green, stands on stage amid a semi-circle of women. “Somebody almost walked off with all my stuff,” she says. “This is mine. You can’t have me unless I give me away.” The other ladies shout their agreement as Bridwell takes back control of herself on stage. The stanza ends with all the women sharing, and laughing about, the excuses men have given for their poor treatment of women.

Bridwell says this monologue is a very explicit example of sisterhood for her. “I’ve experienced that where you give yourself away and you don’t even realize it,” she says. “And it’s always my sisters who are the ones to say, ‘Who are you? Where’s the girl I know?’” Female friendships, like the ones depicted in this scene, are an essential theme of the production. The title says “the rainbow is enuf,” and the women in the show are the rainbow — they are the support that keeps each other upright.

Though it was written for performance, “For Colored Girls” is not a play. As a choreo-poem, language and movement go far beyond merely moving the plot forward. “Shange is amazing at drawing you in through the language,” says Director Dayenne CB Walters. She says the choreography, guided by W. Lola Remy, was a collaborative process that evolved as the actors settled into their characters. “I’m hoping to create a singular experience that moves the stone a little in the right direction,” she says.

Though the content of the show is about black womanhood, the cast encourages everyone to view it. Ciera-Sadé Wade, playing Lady in Blue, says, “In light of what’s going on in the world right now, I think it’s good to see this play because it’s a representation of intersectional feminism.”

Bridwell adds, “We don’t live in this world alone. I think a lot of men will walk away from this understanding women and black women’s experiences better.”