For students when the theater is never enuf
Over parent's weekend, Bowdoin Students and their parents had the privilege of seeing the play For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. Produced by Masque and Gown, the play went up in Wish Theater and was directed by sophomore Kerry Elson.
The play is considered a choreopoem and was written by Ntozake Shange. The lines are written in verse and combine interior monologues with dance, songs and music in order to produce a particular dramatic effect. For Colored Girls tells the story of seven women who all are distinguished by different colors that can be found in a rainbow. The plot, which is not linear, depicts the obstacles that they have to overcome as a result of their ethnicity, race and gender. This includes discrimination, rape, abortion, harassment, abuse, and self degradation.
According to Elizabeth Mengesha '06, "the play has two purposes: first to show the unique experience of colored women, including their joys and obstacles, and secondly, to show the liberation and enlightenment of self-acceptance these women come to by the end of the play." Elizabeth was the only freshman in the cast. She played the role of the Lady in Yellow.
The production was directed by Kerry Elson, a sophomore who cast and staged the entire play in four short weeks. Elson was intrigued by the poetic form and powerful message of the work when she first encountered it in "Women in Performance," a class she took during her freshman year. Elson chose simple sets and costumes in order to cope with the limited time she had to produce the play. Simplicity also highlighted the themes of the play in their most basic form. Elson said of her work, "the play is superficially about the lives of black American women, but I think its themes of spirituality, ethnicity, relationships and the continuum between fantasy and reality are universal".
The play was filled with many intense moments, including Lady in Blue's account of her abortion, and Lady in Red's vivid description of a man who murdered his two children by dropping them out the window of a fifth story apartment building. The play undoubtedly gave the audience some complex and difficult issues to grapple with. To sum up the content and impact of the play, perhaps Lady in Yellow puts it best in telling the audience, "But bein alive and bein a woman and bein colored is a metaphysical dilemma I haven't conquered yet."