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STL Black Rep’s ‘Colored Girls’ Is Spectrum Of Emotions, But Let’s Talk About Red

A scene from "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf," presented by the Black Rep in 2014
Provided by the Black Rep

There are many reasons you might want to see the Black Rep’s current production of Ntozake Shange’s poem series “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf” at the Missouri History Museum.

Of course, you get that deep, hard look into the lives of black women in the 1970s as seven characters wearing seven different colors leap, lament and laugh their way through Shange’s classic language.

You get to see Lady In Brown (Patrese McClain, from last year’s “No Child”) fill the stage with her portrayal of an exuberant young girl. You’re treated to Lady in Green's (Andrea Purnell's) sassy rendition of “Somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff.”

But red is the color that commands attention near the play’s end. If you’ve seen the stage production or even the movie, you surely remember Lady in Red (Crystal, in the film) and her "A Night with Beau Willie Brown."

Linda Kennedy
Credit Provided by the Black Rep
Linda Kennedy

How does an actor do justice to these words, these acts, embodying both the fierce mother of two and the man who dangles his own children out the window?

The Black Rep’s Linda Kennedy knows how, under the direction of Ron Himes and assisted by lighting from Jim Burwinkel. With tension arcing back and forth between her two characters, Kennedy transforms from mother warrior to monster father, unleashed emotion spewing from her mouth in the form of spit that no amount of mouth-wiping can keep up with.

You want to look away. But you have to watch.

Read more about "For Colored Girls" and Ntozake Shange

"Ten Things To Know About Ntozake Shange and 'For Colored Girls'"

Ntozake Shange bio includes her own suicide attempts

Quotes from “For Colored Girls”


‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf’
Missouri History Museum, Lindell and DeBaliviere in Forest Park, 5700 Lindell Blvd., 63112
When: Thursday-Sunday through Feb. 9
How much: $35-$45
Tickets/Information: The Black Rep website

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.

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