By Jade Estrada
The latest theater and dance production differed from others, combining lyrical elements and creative movement to form a unique style called a “choreopoem.”
This passionate and captivating rendition of Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” dives into a new world of theater, both in content and structure, with 20 enthralling poems integrated with choreography.
Shange wrote the poems in 1975 and chose to focus on issues important to women of color, such as discrimination and violence. Her poems resonated with many and still ring true for a great deal of young women today.
In each poem, a woman tells her own story of a day-to-day difficulty she faces. The topics range from being young and living wildly to having hope for oneself in life and love, to tougher subjects, such as dealing with issues of sexual abuse and domestic violence.
Director Aldo Billingslea brought Shange’s lyrical poems to life, depicting the joys, betrayals, tragedies and triumphs in the lives of women of color. This celebrated play has been captured through many interpretations, both onstage and onscreen, for audiences across the country ever since Shange’s poems were published. Santa Clara’s dynamic septet of actresses brings an obvious sense of connectedness and artistry to their rendition.
Each actress carried their character through a different plight, guiding them to a sense of internal strength and expressing a different story of oppression and victory.
“Being so vulnerable with the audience was like baring your soul,” said actress Piper Thomasson. “There are 200 people watching and you’re being wide open with them.”
Each actress brought raw emotion to their designated colorful dress, giving the audience a unique experience of seeing powerful words combined with elegant movements and natural struts.
David Popaliksy’s fluid, yet precise and evocative choreography was simply spot on, adding to the resonant emotions. Every move illuminated new dimension to the characters, whether wildly vivacious or sadly downtrodden. Every emotion was clear and wonderfully portrayed in all aspects.
This social commentary gave new perspective on what it is like to be a woman of color in a modern world, uniting several art forms together for a truly evocative experience. The entirety of the play is well-executed and obviously embodied in mind and soul by each person involved in its production. It is powerful and potent.
Contact Jade Estrada at firstname.lastname@example.org.