From its inception in California in 1974 to its highly acclaimed critical success at Joseph Papp's Public Theater and on Broadway, the Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country. Passionate and fearless, Shange's words reveal what it is to be of color and female in the twentieth century. First published in 1975 when it was praised by The New Yorker for "encompassing...every feeling and experience a woman has ever had," for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf will be read and performed for generations to come. Here is the complete text, with stage directions, of a groundbreaking dramatic prose poem written in vivid and powerful language that resonates with unusual beauty in its fierce message to the world.
The eyes on the book's cover draw you in and make you long to find out what stories she has to tell. And what stories! The poems address such topics as love, betrayal, rape, abortion, disease, and post-traumatic stress. Although the ladies in the poems encounter hardships, there is an undercurrent of strength and determination throughout the book. The women look within and discover resilience that is expressed in mantras whose themes weave throughout the poems like choreography across a stage. "my love is too beautiful to have thrown back on my face/my love is too sanctified to have thrown back on my face/my love is too magic to have thrown back on my face."
The stage directions and descriptions bring the stories of the poems to life. Reading this book conjures the image of women in colorful dresses dancing around a stage, chanting and singing these stories that are shared by the sisterhood of all women. Shange's work calls each of us to share in that bond.