‘For Colored Girls’ Hits the Big Stage at AIC


Taylor James-Mathurin, Staff Writer

It was November 20 at 7 p.m. sharp.

That was when the emotional, and heartfelt ‘For Colored Girls’ had finally come to its opening night in the Griswold Theatre at American International College.

The theater was filled with intensity. The house lights were slightly dimmed so set the mood of what seemed to be an intimate play.

As the seats began to fill, an older selection of rhythm and blues was aired into the theater. As the theater darkens, the audience quiets down to enjoy what their eyes are going to be bestowed upon.

Harsh music plays as eleven ladies run out to the center stage, and the play begins as Lady in Brown – characters are named after the colors they wear – starts with her monologue.

The setup with black walls and colorful handprints with paint splattered on the wall gave the set a pretty, yet harsh feel.

There is a rainbow pattern striped on the stage and the extension. Each scene pulls you in to get you to know the woman performing to fall in love with every word, and to keep you at the edge of your seat. It is very evident that these women worked hard to uncover the meaning of playwright Nztoke Shange’s life, and what she wanted the world to know.

I saw how each lady was defined in her own colors, and told their story. They each brought them to life as if the audience was apart of it.

The Lady in Blue opened up her world place as a mixed colored girl struggling in New York, and the Lady in Purple showed you the essence of her beauty and how she is in control of who can and can’t tell her what to do with her life.

The Lady in Yellow told the story and seemed to enjoy every woman.

The Lady in Red shared her pain and loss of her children. The Lady in Orange screamed from the top of her lungs that “Colored girls had not right for sorrow, it’s so redundant in the modern world!”

I loved how the play captured your attention so much that there was no time to take your eyes off of these women. They were open on purpose; they spoke the harsh truth on purpose. Most AIC students that attended said that it was a play that hit home.

The audience got to experience what they believed. And they believed that their colors were beautiful.

They could also see that their own mistakes were okay, because it is what made them.

The most heart-wrenching scene was at the end, when each woman stood up and recited “I found God in myself, and I loved her, I loved her fiercely” over and over again until the audience cried, or until the actors themselves cried, because they wanted you know that there most defiantly is hope in tough times.

This is the second production of Nztoke Shange’s award-winning play here at AIC, following a stage reading done last year.

It touches on the depth, complexity, poetry, passion and angst of the seven young women coming of age at the height of the women’s movement and in the wake of the civil rights movement. With plainspoken words about some of life’s greatest pains as well as pleasures, the actors speak of issues including romance, love, heartache, infidelity, rape, theft, solidarity, education, and the brutal murder of one character’s children at the hands of their father.

The play has been performed both on and off Broadway, adapted as a book, a television film, and a theatrical film. The 1976 Broadway production was nominated for a Tony Award for best play.