Hard hitting, compelling, intricate and complicated are just some adjectives that still can’t encapsulate the spectacular production of “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” at Rowan University. “For Colored Girls” ran this past weekend at Rowan’s Lab Theatre, directed by Kianna Price and choreographed by Krystal Bradley, both Rowan students.
“For Colored Girls” is a series of poetic monologues which are woven together with movement and dance. The poetry expresses difficulties women of color may face throughout their lives, tackling tough topics such as rape, abandonment and abortion. Rowan’s production used only a cast of three women – Mikyah Mott, Lady in Purple, Beatrice Alonna, Lady in Blue/Lady in Brown, and Nicole Cummings, Lady in Yellow/Lady in Orange. The three women took turns reciting each of the poems throughout the show, with the other two playing supporting roles in each of the monologues.
Alonna’s performance was a particular standout. As the Lady in Blue, she emotionally grappled with receiving an abortion in the “abortion cycle #1” monologue. Her pain, fear, even embarrassment were evident as she grapples with the incident alone, her legs spread.
Cummings acted with such grace during her monologues in the primary role. During “graduation nite,” Cummings played an exceptionally nostalgic woman as the Lady in Yellow, discussing how on graduation night she was the only virgin and wanted someone to take her virginity. Through Cummings’ actions, she portrayed a sense of excitement, nervousness and significance.
Aside from Mott’s brilliantly portrayed spotlight during her monologues, particularly “pyramid,” she maintained excellent stage presence and grace. She acted happy when events willed her to do so, angry or upset when they did not. Mott’s movement onstage was artful and creative, making her a clearly gifted dancer.
Although each of the actresses had many individual moments, “For Colored Girls” would not have flowed if the women could not work together. Each reacted to one another when appropriate or when the monologue yielded such.
At the end of the show, the women performed together “a laying on of hands” where each discussed things that make them whole. They each repeat the line, “I found God in myself/ & I loved her/I loved her fiercely.” The women seem to have learned to love themselves, and the emotion that Cummings, Alonna and Mott conveyed demonstrated exactly that, their acting whole and fierce.
This review would be remiss without mention of Bradley and Price, whose ability to stage the monologues as a cohesive show was nothing short of incredible. I sincerely believe the play accomplished what Price wrote in her director’s note, “What you are about to witness is an explosion of honest, unapologetic perseverance and strength. Black girl magic.”
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