The Irvington Town Hall Theater (ITHT) continues its celebration of Black History Month with a one night only, fully-staged reading of Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking play, for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, presented by 4th Wall Theatre, on Saturday, February 24th at 7:30 pm.
The piece is billed as a “choreopoem” and weaves together 20 separate poems with music, movement, and narratives to tell the stories of love, empowerment, struggle, and loss in a complex representation of African-American sisterhood. The cast consists of seven nameless African-American women only identified by the colors they are assigned. The show first premiered at the Henry Street Settlement, Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre, and later moved to Broadway.
for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf first took shape in 1974 as an electrifying performance by Shange, and four of her close friends, in a Berkeley, California, women’s bar called the Bacchanal. As they moved and danced, they recited Shange’s poems about coming of age, heartbreak, sexual assault, and redemption. The choreopoem went on to win the 1977 Obie Award and was nominated for multiple Tony and Grammy awards. Time Magazine called it, “A poignant, gripping, angry and beautiful work.”
4th Wall Theater’s production (as a fully staged reading) will be void of sets and costumes, and the performers may carry scripts. The characters and the storytelling will be the focus of the production. The show is directed by Gwen Ricks-Spencer, 4th Wall Theater founding member and current executive director.
“This piece holds a very special place in my heart,” said director Gwen Ricks-Spencer. “It was the very first show I ever saw on Broadway, and it made a lasting and profound impression on me. I was excited at the idea of directing the stage version because so many people only know the 2015 movie by Tyler Perry. The play has an immediacy and intimacy that is palpable on the stage. It also provides an opportunity for the audience to hear all of the poems that make up the piece. There were shortened versions of several of them in the movie.”
The 90-minute show contains mature subject matter; discretion is advised for parents bringing children under 16. The performance will be followed by a brief discussion for those who are interested in participating.
Tickets are $22 — and $20 for students and seniors (ticket fees are always less expensive if purchased in advance online). The Irvington Town Hall Theater is located at 85 Main Street in Irvington, and the theater entrance is on N. Ferris Street.
4th Wall Theatre is a non-union professional theater company that has presented theater productions for over 20 years in the metropolitan area. For more information, visit: http://4thwalltheatre.org