Playwright Djanet Sears wouldn't have started writing without this play. Now she's directing it
Seeing Ntozake Shange's 'for colored girls' lit a fire in Sears' soul — and changed her life's path
While in her first year studying drama at York University, award-winning playwright Djanet Sears and her classmates took a field trip to New York City. Of the many productions Sears would see on that trip, Ntozake Shange's for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf was the one that lit a fire in her soul.
"There were limits to what black women, black people could say," recalls Sears. "And Ntozake Shange blew that out of the water."
Sears was inspired by how Shange challenged colonialism and subverted how audiences expected her to work with language. In fact, seeing for colored girls ultimately empowered her to change her life's path and pursue a career in theatre — and now, she's directing the Soulpepper Theatre's remount of the play.
"I'm not sure I would really have considered writing without seeing this play," she says. "It really taught me: you must speak your own truth."
for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf. Written by Ntozake Shange. Directed by Djanet Sears. Presented by Soulpepper Theatre. To June 3. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto. www.soulpepper.ca
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