Theatre Review: For Coloured Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf
Director: Jenny Kandenge
Playwright: Ntozake Shange
Musical Director: Lize Ehlers
Choreographer: Nikhita Winkler
Cast: Odile Gertze, Counney Kemp, Christell Nassauw, Diana Master, Jeanne-Danae Januarie, Rencha Murere, Xaverie M
Director Jenny Kandenge’s production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf is a radical activist piece of theatre paying homage to the late Ntozake Shange and oppressed women the world over.
The production, impeccably stitched together in moving monologues, euphonious musical delivery and heart-wrenching acting delivery is a feast for the poetry lover which solidifies the unity of women, especially in the face of adversity in form of sexism and racism.
From the onset, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf screams women empowerment, self-love, courage and passion. The choreopoem is performed by seven women identified only by the colour of their clothing; Lady in Orange (Odile Gertze), Lady in Green (Counney Kemp), Lady in Yellow (Diana Master), Lady in Red (Christell Nassauw) Lady in Brown (Rencha Murere), Lady in Purple (Jeanne-Danae Januarie), and Lady in Blue (Xaverie M). With most of the cast being first-time actors, expectations idle, especially considering the emotional, mental and speech required for a production like this. However, upon opening night, these seven women gave a stellar performance and one couldn’t help but connect with the women as they share stories of rape, sexual awakening and courage in a poetic manner.
The mood in the National Theatre of Namibia’s auditorium was engaging and as the women revealed the dilemma of being a woman, especially, a black woman, intense emotions of guilt, sympathy and anger built-up because not only was this classic piece relevant in 76′ but the headlines of today remain the same as violence against women, at the hands of men, is still on the rise.
Previously Kandenge vowed to stick to Shange’s 1976 version, however, the to keep the Namibian-ness, the cast spoke in their natural tones and no weird ‘Afro-American’ accent was heard and I must say, it was well-executed. Add the musical element by Lize Ehlers and her band and the rhythmic movements choreographed by Nikhita Winkler, and Kandenge’s production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf is piece even Shange herself would’ve been proud of.
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf will show for two more nights at the National Theatre of Namibia, 29 and 30 November. Tickets are available at Computicket for N$100.