For Colored Girls… Dances to Intense Beat

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An emotional knockout, Gary Levingston’s excellent production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf contains fiery, moving performances that reveal the joys, sorrows, and inspirations in the lives of African-American women.

A series of sketches told as a “choreopoem,” the show looks at dramatic moments in the lives of women desperately searching for love and fulfillment, and learning that loving themselves is the ultimate gift.

Director Alexia Robinson powerfully combines choreography and recitation to create a roiling rhythm and intensity in which to highlight the themes of hope, despair, determination, and faith. She creates an imaginative staging by employing every inch of the theater to tell the story, and smartly uses music and dance to develop pacing.

Her impressive cast vividly brings the show to life in their joyous, dynamic performances. Tomeka L. Williams demonstrates an earth mother warmth and vulnerability in her portrayals. Tiffany Snow passionately shouts out her verse with the powerful rhythm of a machine gun. Sonya Evans’ searing performance of a grief stricken and abused mother stays imprinted on the brain.

Travis Murray’s minimal sets and props and B. Thomas’ colorful costumes focus attention on the meaty issues these women struggle with every day. The sound mix was a little hot however, and the audience had to strain to hear performers under songs in the first third of the piece.

An intense, powerful production, For Colored Girls… carries the audience on an emotional ride to inspiration and hope.

“For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” plays Saturdays at 8 p.m. through August 7 at the Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling (323) 960-5521, or visiting www.plays411.com/ForColoredGirls.

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