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June 06, 1981 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1981-06-06

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Arts
The Michigan Daily Saturday, June 6, 1981 Page 6
FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HA VE CONSIDERED SUICIDE...'
Soliloquys, sermons from Common Ground

By MARK DIGHTON
Ntozake Shange's for colored girls
who have considered suicide/when the
rainbow is enuf, running through this
Sunday at the Lydia Mendelssohn
Theatre, is an experience quite unlike
most theatre.
You could call it a "black awareness
play," for it certainly has elements of
that. Besides taking us back to explore
many different aspects of the black
cultural heritage, it pulls us forward to
a new appreciation of the modern black
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culture - the communicative and
cultural importance of dance, the
inherent poetics of street-tough talk.
You could also call ita "feminist con-
sciousness-raising play" in that it looks
to the past for a common gender
heritage - often finding it in the pain of
'for colored girls
who have considered suicide/
when the rainbow is enuf'
byNtozake Shange
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
June 4-7
hushed abortions and faithful girlfrien-
ds spurned for shiftless men - and
looks to the future for a common
striving for a common good.
THE ONLY point on which you might
find any objection to these two
definitions is in calling it a "play," for
it is also a radical re-exploration of the
medium of theatre. Rather than place
contrived characters in contrived
situations with contrived dialogue,
Shange puts believable everyday
characters onstage to speak for them-

Stephanie Gail McIntosh, as the lady in yellow, stands isolated from her ac-
ting colleagues in 'for colored girls . . ..'

selves. In shifting combinations - and
often alone - the eight black women in
the acting ensemble take only moments
to speak their peace, using gestures,
expressions, and idioms so honest that

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we never question their authenticity.
We're never sure whether they're
speaking for Shange, or for people
Shange has known, or for people they
have known, but we rarely doubt that
they are speaking at least partially for
(or perhaps I should say "from")
themselves.
This is where the New Common
Ground Theatre Ensemble - the local
group responsible for this production -
really shines. This is acting of the most
demanding calibre; it requires that you
stand on stage and not act, for acting
will show immediately in a production
of such transparent honesty. The New
Common Ground Theatre Ensemble
delivers this non-acting/supra-acting
style with unfaltering ac-
curacy ... almost.
They are all exceptional actresses,
but a few of them occasionally display
the affected gestures and inflections of
the theatre. In any other production,
their talents might well be laudable, but
See FOR, Page 15
MICHIGAN
REPERTORY
misalliance
JUNE 3, 4, 5, 6
By George Bernard Shaw
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I

DAWN OF THE DEAD (R) 11:30 pm
ROCKY HORROR (R)-12 Midnight
NICE DREAMS (R)-12 Midnight

4

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