Ever heard of a choreopoem? Well, Techmoja Dance and Theatre will be sure to enlighten Wilmington audiences of its combination of poetry reading and dance at the opening of their first production of 2014. American playwright, poet, and black feminist Ntozake Shange’s 1975 play, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf,” will debut in the intimate Red Barn Studio this weekend, directed by Techmoja founder Kevin Lee-y Green. The show won numerous accolades after its Off-Broadway and subsequent Broadway release, including the Obie, Outer Critics Circle, and AUDELCO awards.
“Ntozake’s writing alone [deserves recognition,]” Green tells encore, “but [the show] relates with people on so many different levels.”
Twenty poems will be read throughout the evening, each punctuated by silhouettes, the art of movement, live music, and costuming by Terrill Williams. A group of seven local women—Adrienne DeBouse, Dierdre Parker, Regina McCleod, Netta McKissic, Tomasina Depp, Sandra McClammy, and Charlon Turner—will be “text-painting” the show, according to Green. The women’s lives interconnect throughout as adult themes bear down and bring depth.
“They’re all phenomenal actresses in their own right,” Green says of the local talent. “We are approaching the poems as if they are monologues and really digging in to bring them to life,” he directs. “I found this to be challenging, yet fun. It ties in my favorite element: choreography. After rehearsing it, I see the importance of physicality in order to bring the poems to life.”
With titles like “A Nite with Beau Willie Brown,” “Graduation Night,” “Sechita,” as well as “Somebody Walked Off Wid Alla My Stuff,” the content runs a gamut of experiences for the African American woman. From childhood and love, to abandonment, rape, and even abortion, it wavers from light-hearted to heavy. Yet, it does so with relevance and empowerment.
“When I first saw the play, I found myself intrigued by the words,” Green remembers. “There’s such fluidity; it kept me so engaged… Ntozake does a nice job of tackling heavy subject matter in a tasteful yet real way.”
Techmoja focuses on theatre with an African American bent. Green has produced “Children of Eden,” “Dreamgirls,” “The Color Purple,” “The Wiz,” and “The House that Gordy Built,” among others over the past few years. His main interest lies in dance, which he has directed across town with various theater companies, adult and children outfits alike. With Techmoja Green often tackles shows and content which don’t get as much stage time or consideration locally.
“I chose to do this show not because of its title or popularity, but because of how important it is for this area to be exposed to this piece,” he states. “I actually had the privilege of attending a live production, and it introduced me to a missing link in my chain of African American literature. It also sent me on a journey to learn more about the author.”
2014 holds a lot of promise for Techmoja Green remains mum about what’s in store but he promises it will continue to represent diversity in theatre—of all ethnicities. And with Red Barn now open to provide a more personal approach for audiences, the possibilities remain endless.
“I purposely chose Red Barn, because it is intimate,” Green exacts. “I feel that in many cases, especially this one, the closer the performers are to the audience, the more involved the audience becomes.”
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf
Mar. 7th – 9th, 8 p.m. • Tickets: $15
Red Barn • 1122 S. 3rd St.
www.techmoja.com • (910) 233-7343