“All voices raised on the same day around the world in praise of one of this country’s most important plays,” organizer Erich McMillan-McCall Founder/CEO of Project1VOICE told us on a phone call, “that’s our vision.”
That vision will become a reality on Monday, June 16 when DC-based African Continuum Theatre Company joins an international group of theatre companies performing staged readings of Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf.
The event is being held at Atlas Performing Arts Center, directed by Deirdre LaWan Starnes. The cast features Lolita Clayton, Ayanna Hardy, Paige Hernandez, Karen Elle, Bina Malhotra, Mary Miller, Natalie Tucker, Katherine Turner, and Tara Yates-Reeves.
At least thirty other black theatre companies will produce readings for Project1VOICE on June 16th, including two readings in Africa.
This month marks the 40th anniversary of the date when playwright Ntozake Shange first began performing For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf in Berkeley, California coffee houses. With a cast of seven women, the play moved on to New York and eventually to Broadway. While Tyler Perry’s 2010 film adaptation, For Colored Girls, was a disappointment to many, the stage version has been Shange’s most well known work, and is produced around the world.
Some stage producers have changed the time period, some have it set in a beauty shop or a prison. In Kentucky, the women made it about class, not race. Nevertheless, as Erich McMillan-McCall says for ProjectiVOICE, “The women in the play learn to celebrate their beauty, their friendships, their scars, their successes, and their connection to something larger and divine.
“For Colored Girls is not only an American literary classic it was a game change. Ntozake Shange, the second African American woman to be produced on Broadway, is a pioneer–knocking down barriers and paving the road to empowerment for all women. Now is the perfect time to revisit her vision of reclamation and self-determination.”
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by visiting FCG Tickets, or by contacting the Atlas Performing Arts Center Box Office at 202-399-7993.