The RC Players, a student theater group known for presenting themes and messages not commonly addressed by mainstream theater, proudly presents its latest work, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf,” a choreo-poem by Ntozake Shange.
“I am happy to bring ‘Colored Girls’ to the community,” said Anna Vitale, the director of “Colored Girls.” Vitale, a junior concentrating in Women’s Studies, has previously directed her own scene for the RC’s ” Evening of the Scenes” and was the assistant director for “Electra.”
“There are not a lot of plays on campus about African-Americans and Latinos. Hopefully this play will inspire other people to do similar things, such as perform plays by less known playwrights,” Vitale said.
Vitale believes that her experience of growing up in a diverse environment helped make social issues a priority in her life. “It means something that I am the only white person in the production, but I’m from Detroit and so I grew up around black women,” she said. “It was a teacher who introduced the idea for the production to me. Before I read the play, I had no idea that stories were being told about having attitude, standing up for yourself and not being ashamed.”
Jordan Reed, a Theater & Drama senior co-directs “Colored Girls” with Vitale. Reed incorporated an Irish directorial method named “devising” into the production. According to Reed, “Devising is allowing normally directorial decisions like set design, costumes, blocking and music to be made by the cast.”
Reed also credits social context as being influential in her decision. “A lot of community and growth was happening during the eras of social change with women’ s theater and the play came out of a new sense of sisterhood and women feeling like they had power in their lives,” she said. “I still feel like these stories are pertinent.”
Hence, Reed and Vitale do not consider themselves directors, in the true sense of the word; rather they prefer to be known as organizers of the production. “It’s so wonderful to work with people who have not done this before, and are really honest about what they say,” Vitale said. “They have made the story their own. The interpretations come from the women themselves.”
The playwright, Ntozake Shange, scripted music for her production, including Willie Colon, Martha and the Vandellas and the Dells, but for the RC’s production of the Broadway hit, music by Tori Amos was utilized.
While the music is a large part of the performances, the costumes are kept simple and are meant to convey a deeper meaning. “In the play, every lady is a color and together they make up the colors of the rainbow,” Reed said.
Vitale added, “The group’s solidarity is what keeps the ladies from committing suicide and the solidarity is represented in a rainbow, because a rainbow can only happen when the colors are all together.”