NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s Second Season Theatre will perform Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” Oct. 25-27 in the Jack Wann Theatre. Performance times are Oct. 25-26 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. Myesha McGarner is the director. Admission is free, but seating is limited.
From its inception in California in 1974 to its highly acclaimed critical success at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and on Broadway, the Obie Award–winning work has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country. “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” tells the stories of seven women who have suffered oppression in a racist and sexist society. The choreopoem is a combination of poetry, drama, music and dance. For Shange, the combination is important. She learned about her identity as a woman through words, songs and literature. She learned about her identity as an African through dance.
The women are not named; they are meant to stand for the women who make up the rainbow. They are called “Lady in Brown,” “Lady in Red” and so on. Each tells her own story. The stories are interwoven together. As the women tell their stories, they reflect on what it means to be a woman of color, what chances and choices they have. These women are in pain; they are angry. They have been abused and have been driven to the brink of despair. What strength they have left they find in music and in each other.
“The message is that no matter who you are, everyone is the same. You just have different obstacles,” said McGarner, who is a theatre major from Baton Rouge. “These women faced things that no one wants to talk about. They show that your experiences shape who you are, not your color.”
The cast is Ne’Ambri Owens of Mansfield as the Lady in Red, Caitlin Douglas of Shreveport as the Lady in Orange, Maggie Moroney of Slidell as the Lady in Yellow, Hannah Williams of Baton Rouge as the Lady in Green, Nina Breeland of Ruston as the Lady in Purple and Clinisha Chandler of New Orleans as the Lady in Blue.
The play is McGarner’s first as a director. She has appeared in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “A Work in Progress” and the Christmas Gala at Northwestern State. This past summer, she was assistant stage manager at New Venture Theatre in Baton Rouge.
“Auditions and callbacks took place over a span of three hours. I had to make choices quickly and be prepared to stick with it,” said McGarner. “I used to think it was easy for a director to cast a show, but I found out how hard it is. You can’t cast everyone and someone will be disappointed. I’m super excited to be directing. I’ve learned a lot about working with people and how everyone has a different way of understanding what I would like them to do.”