Reclamation & salvation—stories of Black women’s lives told with candor, sass & humour in powerful, theatrical for colored girls

Karen Glave, d’bi.young anitafrika, Ordena Stephens-Thompson, Akosua Amo-Adem, Evangelia Kambites, Tamara Brown & SATE in for colored girls—photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

 

Soulpepper opened its production of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have committed suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, directed by Djanet Sears with assistance from Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu, to a packed house and a triple curtain call standing ovation at the Young Centre last night.

From the innocent, playful childhood world of hopscotch and double dutch in the playground, to sexual awakening and the discovery of sensual power in young adulthood, to the harsh realities and challenges of life as a Black woman, for colored girls is poetry and politics in motion. Incorporating spoken word, a cappella vocals, dance and storytelling, the excellent ensemble creates scenes, moments and soundscapes. The result is startling, theatrical, hilarious and heartbreaking.

Kudos to the ensemble: Akosua Amo-Adem, d’bi.young anitafrika, Tamara Brown, Karen Glave, Evangelia Kambites, SATE and Ordena Stephens-Thompson. With choreography by Jasmyn Fyffe and Vivine Scarlett, and music composition and arrangement by Suba Sankaran, the cast deftly weaves the stories of these women with honesty, courage and emotional impact—commanding the stage as they engage, entertain and wake us.

Brown’s opening dance is magical and elemental. Glave takes us back to the excitement and anticipation of graduation day with a tale of young love in the back seat. SATE takes charge and takes us out dancing; a woman enjoying the music and the power of her own body in motion. Stephens-Thompson regales us with a poetic, sensual account of woman (Kambites) who attracts with the mystery and allure of an Egyptian goddess. Amo-Adem takes us to church with a proclamation of what belongs to her, coupled with an order to get back what’s been stolen. And anitafrika breaks our hearts as a mother struggling to protect her children.

Highlighting the lived experiences of public and private selves—the public strength and confidence that protect the private vulnerability and fear—from hope and joy to loss and despair, for colored girls is a celebration of Black women finding their voices.

Reclamation and salvation—stories of Black women’s lives told with candor, sass and humour in the powerful, theatrical for colored girls.

for colored girls continues in the Baillie Theatre at the Young Centre; get your advance tix online or by calling the box office at 416-866-8666.

In the meantime, check out the for colored girls teaser:

 

Toronto Fringe NSTF: A joyful, entertaining dance party of rhythm & soul in Pulse

Pulse-by-Jamie-Johnston-250x250The Jasmyn Fyffe Dance company burst onto the stage to perform Pulse to a packed house at the Factory Theatre Mainspace for the Next Stage Theatre Festival last night.

With high-energy moves choreographed by company A.D. Jasmyn Fyffe, and grooving to the best of Motown, the company charmed and danced their way into our hearts in a series of highly engaging, sexy and emotionally moving pieces.

From the get-go, the audience was invited to sing and move along, and with “Cruisin’,” the company brought some folks into the aisles – and later up on stage – to join in into the fun. A solo turns into quartet in “Stand by Me.” Romance in “Bring It To Me” shifts from one couple to two; and the a cappella “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” presents a break-up in a heartbreaking pas de deux. And a silent piece featuring the three men in the company is dynamic and playful to the point that you can feel the music. This is just a small sample of the brilliant artistry on display in Pulse.

With big shouts to the company: Jonna Abrams, Bretonie Burchell, Irvin Chow, Julia Cosentino, Jasmyn Fyffe, Roney Lewis, Alyssa Petrolo, Steven Smith and Jessica Tomasone, and sound designer Robert Kingsbury.

Pulse is a joyful, entertaining and moving dance party of rhythm and soul – and everyone’s invited.

Pulse continues till Sun, Jan 18 – advance tix here. Shake your booty and get on out there!