First Draft: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide…

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One Comment on “First Draft: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide…

  1. Marisa Lenardson
    (To whomever edits this, I’m a bit too exhausted to attempt to write a proper critique and only an hour away from deadline but didn’t want to leave nothing. So here is a jumbled collection of points I intend to write about instead)
    A story usually moves a person at its most climactic scene; tensions are high and attachments are developed towards characters. It hurts to see them struggle or feels triumphant to watch them succeed. Five Town College’s production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf manages to recreate these leaps of emotion in nearly every scene.

    The costumes worn by the seven characters (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, and Brown) create a sense of uniformity among the cast, allowing for individuality. Their costumes consist of the same styled pants in their respective colors with black tops of varying degrees and a headpiece that is unique to each girl. All of them walk barefoot, a choice that keeps them grounded and makes their spoken word feel more intimate. Since For Colored Girls is a collection of poetic monologues instead of a linear story, their outfits are also versatile to transition between time and place.

    Beneath the poetic monologues, instruments often accompany the speech of the actors. More specifically, a drum and saxophone. They are sometimes used alone, and other times used together. The drum creates an archaic sense of rhythm to their words, giving a heartbeat to bring them to life. The saxophone presents more modern culture and unites that with the traditional drum heard in most slam poetry.

    What went beyond the costumes alone was the lighting that enhanced their colorful variety. Often, when it was only one actor speaking, the lights on the backdrop would match their color. It wasn’t so dramatic that it took away from their speech but highlighted who they wanted attention on. Rather than light on the backdrop being widespread, the light appeared in pillars that often matched where actors would pose for a scene. There was some inconsistency with keeping the effect to match each girl with the lights but could be a choice made to add variation to the design. Actors had a lot of dramatic up light on their faces which became an issue only when actors were unable to find their light. A notable moment involving light occurs as the seven girls are dancing around on stage and there is a sudden stop as they all drop to ground. All light fades out except for the bright red emitting from the staircase. This dramatic pause that interrupts the previous celebration leads to a tonal shift throughout the remainder of the show.

    The weaknesses of For colored girls often came in the sound. At times it became hard to hear the actors which was a result of multiple factors. The drums became a distraction at points where it was too loud or even cause feedback through the speakers. It felt at some points that segments of a monologue were rushed all at once because they were meant to be delivered as intense, but words got muddled together. Sometimes the drum and saxophone would be used during the same monologue and would feel confusing instead of enhancing the piece. The music seemed to mostly come from stage right which could easily be fixed with better mixing.

    Choreography is what made the show feel like a work of art come to life. Each movement reflected the story being told and embodied the characters and their feelings. When there were multiple actors onstage, they were always spread out symmetrically, in a way that utilized the whole stage. Though it was choreographed, the girls’ movements feel naturally developed in a way that never takes away from the words they speak. Eyes are drawn to one area and ears are draw to another.

    The cast of this show contains stellar actors across the board. Red has a particularly powerful ending that is so impactful because it felt the most unrestrained performance out of all of the monologues. After her emotionally charge scene, the cast gathers around Red on the stairs and begins to sing “I found god in myself and I loved her.” The execution of this finale is weakened by imbalanced harmonies which pale in comparison to an earlier singing of “Killing Me Softly.” Despite this, the message still hits because it is a moment of somberness after dealing with emotional exhaustion.

    The power of For colored girls is in the relatability it has to the audience it was intended for. Though there can be objective remarks about the technicalities and sound design, the production is ultimately raised to the audience by the voices and talent of the seven actors present onstage.

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