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Ntozake Shange For Colored Girls Poems Pdf


for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf is Ntozake Shange's first work and most acclaimed theater piece, which premiered in 1976. It consists of a series of poetic monologues to be accompanied by dance movements and music, a form Shange coined as the choreopoem.[5] for colored girls... tells the stories of seven women who have suffered oppression in a racist and sexist society.[6]




Ntozake Shange For Colored Girls Poems Pdf


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As a choreopoem, the piece is a series of 20 separate poems choreographed to music that weaves interconnected stories of love, empowerment, struggle and loss into a complex representation of sisterhood. The cast consists of seven nameless African-American women only identified by the colors they are assigned. They are the lady in red, lady in orange, lady in yellow, lady in green, lady in blue, lady in brown, and lady in purple. Subjects from rape, abandonment, abortion and domestic violence are tackled.[6] Shange originally wrote the monologues as separate poems in 1974. Her writing style is idiosyncratic and she often uses vernacular language, unique structure, and unorthodox punctuation to emphasize syncopation. Shange wanted to write for colored girls... in a way that mimicked how real women speak so she could draw her readers' focus to the experience of reading and listening.[7]


In December 1974, Shange performed the first incarnation of her choreopoem with four other artists at a women's bar outside Berkeley, California.[8] After moving to New York City, she continued work on for colored girls..., which went on to open at the Booth Theatre in 1976, becoming the second play by a black woman to reach Broadway, preceded by Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun in 1959.[9] Shange updated the original choreopoem in 2010, by adding the poem "positive" and referencing the Iraq War and PTSD.


for colored girls... has been performed Off-Broadway as well as on Broadway, and was adapted as a book (first published in 1976 by Shameless Hussy Press), a 1982 television film, and a 2010 theatrical film. The 1976 Broadway production was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play.


for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf is a piece of work inspired by events of Shange's own life. Shange admitted publicly to having attempted suicide on four occasions. In a phone interview conducted with CNN, she explained how she came to the title of her choreopoem: "I was driving the No. 1 Highway in northern California and I was overcome by the appearance of two parallel rainbows. I had a feeling of near death or near catastrophe. Then I drove through the rainbow and I went away. Then I put that together to form the title."[10] The colors of the rainbow then became the essence of the women in the choreopoem.


Structurally, for colored girls is a series of 20-22 poems, depending on whether "my love is too" and "positive" are included in the list, collectively called a "choreopoem." Shange's poetry expresses many struggles and obstacles that African-American women may face throughout their lives and is a representation of sisterhood and coming of age as an African-American woman. The poems are choreographed to music that weaves together interconnected stories. The choreopoem is performed by a cast of seven nameless women only identified by the colors they are assigned. They are the lady in red, lady in orange, lady in yellow, lady in green, lady in blue, lady in brown, and lady in purple. Subjects from rape, abandonment, abortion, and domestic violence are tackled.[6] By the end of the play these women come together in a circle, symbolizing the unity they have found sharing their stories.


The prologue of the choreopoem "dark phrases" begins with the lady in brown describing the "dark phrases of womanhood".[11] All she hears are screams and promises. Each woman states where she is from, by stating they are outside their respective cities. The lady in brown proclaims that this piece is all for "colored girls who have considered suicide / but moved to the ends of their own rainbows".[12] The women then begin to sing children's nursery rhymes, "mama's little baby likes shortnin, shortnin".[12] Then all the ladies start to dance to the song "Dancing in the Street".


The ladies begin the last poem saying that they are missing something: a "layin on of hands".[26] The hands are strong, cool, moving, and make them whole and pure. The lady in blue says she feels the gods coming into her, laying her open to herself. She goes on to say that she knows about laying her body open for a man, but still she was missing something. Finally, all the ladies repeat the lines she says, "i found god in myself / & i loved her / I loved her fiercely".[27] They sing to each other and then the audience, and close into a tight circle with each other. The choreopoem ends with lady in brown modifying her earlier statement: "& this is for colored girls who have considered suicide/ but are movin to the ends of their own rainbows."


In 1982 for colored girls... was adapted for television on WNET-TV, PBS, as part of The American Playhouse series.[33] Although for colored girls went from a play production to television one, this production was dubbed a "telefilm" instead of a teleplay as the performance on WNET-TV was seen as a serious departure from the Broadway production.[34]


In 2009 Tyler Perry announced that he would produce Shange's for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf.[35] The film was the first project for 34th Street Films, Perry's new production company housed in Lionsgate The cast included Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson, Phylicia Rashād, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington and Thandie Newton. Originally using the play's full title, the film's title was shortened to For Colored Girls in September 2010.[35]


On March 25, 2009, the film industry magazine Variety reported[42] that Nzingha Stewart, a black female director, had acquired the feature film rights to for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf from Shange and that Lionsgate had signed Stewart to create a screenplay adaptation and direct the film version of the play.


The title of For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Still Not Enough: Coming of Age, Coming Out, and Coming Home, a 2012 anthology of essays edited by Keith Boykin, was based on the title of Shange's play.[57] Shange's work has also been transformed using different forms of media.[58] It has been continually performed in colleges and universities, art spaces, and theaters throughout the world. It has been set in beauty shops, prisons, and other historical time periods. A Brazilian production dropped the word "color" in the title, and a group of women in Kentucky made it about class instead of race.[7] In a Season Four episode of A Different World, Freddie (Cree Summer) performs a segment from the play during an audition for the fictionalized Hillman College theater production, where show director Whitley (Jasmine Guy) rejects the piece, sarcastically commenting, "Now I know why colored girls consider suicide."


Ntozake Shange's choreopoem, for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf debuted in 1975. It is a combination of drama, music, dance, and poetry meant to be performed by seven actresses. It has since become a cornerstone of black feminist writing and 20th century drama.


The first performance of for colored girls.... took place in a coffeehouse in New York City's East Village. It then moved to the Henry Street Theater, the Public Theater, and finally, premiered on Broadway at the Booth Theater in 1976. In 1995, Shange directed a 20th anniversary production of for colored girls... at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York. In 2010, Tyler Perry adapted the choreopoem into a film. It has been continually performed in colleges and universities, art spaces, and theaters throughout the world. It has been set in beauty shops, prisons, and other historical time periods. A Brazilian production dropped the word "color" in the title and a group of women in Kentucky made it about class instead of race.


for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis tohelp you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:IntroductionAuthor BiographyPlot SummaryChaptersCharactersThemesStyleHistorical ContextCritical OverviewCritical EssaysAdaptationsTopics for Further StudyCompare and ContrastWhat Do I Read Next?Further Study This detailed literature summary also contains Bibliography and a Free Quiz onfor colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange.for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf is a choreopoem, a poem (really a series of 20 separate poems) choreographed to music. Although a printed text cannot convey the full impact of a performance of for colored girls..., Shange's stage directions provide a sense of the interrelationships among the performers and of their gestures and dance movements.


The play begins and ends with the lady in brown. The other six performers represent the colors of the rainbow: the ladies in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. The various repercussions of "bein alive & bein a woman & bein colored is a metaphysical dilemma" are explored through the words, gestures, dance, and music of the seven ladies, who improvise as they shift in and out of different roles. In the 1970s, when Ntozake Shange herself performed in for colored girls..., she continually revised and refined the poems and the movements in her search to express a female black identity. Improvisation is central to her celebration of the uniqueness of the black female body and language, and it participates in the play's theme of movement as a means to combat the stasis of the subjugation. In studying this play in its textual, static format one should, therefore, keep in mind the improvisational character of actual performance and realize that stasis is the opposite of what Shange wanted for this play. In fact, in her preface she announces to readers that while they listen, she herself is already "on the other side of the rainbow" with "other work to do." She has moved on, as she expects her readers to do as well.


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