Play strives to empower women of color

Breyanna Johnson, a social work major and member of Alpha Psi Omega played the role of Lady in Orange in the university's production of "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf." Annie Goodman/The Lion's Roar

A campus play featured the stories of women of color to empower and inform attendees.

“For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf” directed by senior art major Sarah Balli was held in the Vonnie Borden Theatre from Oct. 3-6 at 7:30 p.m. each night. Jordin Jones, a sophomore general studies major and the Lady in Red hopes the play’s message reaches the entire audience.

“Race is starting to become an issue in today’s world, so now that we’re addressing it from the point of view of a black woman, I feel like the audience can really empathize and they really understand, get a glimpse into our lives and stuff like that,” said Jones. “I just hope the audience is receptive of what we’re trying to convey to them. We’re not trying to preach anything. We just wanna share our stories with them and everything. It’s relevant being like the race problem and everything, but I feel like if they watched the show, they could really understand and get a deeper understanding of other races and everything.”

 

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Balli feels she has learned more about the directing process, race and herself from directing her first main stage play.

“Taking that realization of what I’ve learned and going with all of this new information, understanding and sympathy into another project, I can only imagine how much more I’m going to gain from the next production I do and the next production I do,” said Balli. “I feel like I’m growing not only as a director but also as an artist, a feminist and a woman. It’s been a wonderful experience. I never even knew that all of this was possible. I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m going to design and direct this play. It’ll be fine. It’ll be cool. It’ll be my senior project,’ but then I was like, ‘Oh my god. I’m not the same person I was a month ago.’ It’s crazy.”

Taylor Bennett, a junior English major and the Lady in Yellow discussed how she felt performing for an audience.

“I feel grateful that I am able to help people realize that though we are different, it’s only skin deep,” said Bennett. “We all go through the same problems, and at the end of the day, we can all come together as one.”

Kaysha Barre, a sophomore criminal justice major and the Lady in Green described what she connected to the most in the play.

“Probably my poem is really relatable to a lot of women of color and a lot of women period,” said Barre. “A lot of women tend to go through the process of losing themselves and trying to get themselves back. It’s really relatable.”

Samuel Carcamo, a sophomore mechanical engineering major at the University of New Orleans attended to support his friends Jones and Barre.

“Altogether, it’s fantastic,” said Carcamo. “Everything was put together. The acting, no one messed up. It was great. It was powerful. It hits you too. I enjoyed it a lot.”

Allison Jaraycontreyes, a freshman criminal justice major shared her thoughts on the performance.

“I like coming to the plays here,” said Jaraycontreyes. “I love seeing what they put on, and honestly, this play made me cry.”

Jones discussed how the production developed from start to performance.

“I think it’s come very far,” said Jones. “We only had three weeks to put this on. We have a lot of new people in this show too so it’s like a little rocky at first, but we all got really, really close, and I think it came along really well. It’s a great project.”

Although Balli’s design concept remained the same, interactions of the characters were variable to change.

“I really gave the cast the freedom to explore those scenes and those moments, so the details of each scene really came to life during the rehearsal process in a way that I didn’t even know was possible,” said Balli. “That’s the beauty of live theatre too is it’s different every night. It’s different every rehearsal, and these scenes kept evolving and morphing into something so much richer every night. It’s been such a fun process for me.”

Bennett discussed how the cast changed over the production process.

“I feel like each day, we all learn something new about ourselves, about our characters and that this has been an ongoing learning process,” said Bennett. “The feelings that were once involved when we started are completely different from now, from the finished product you see.”

 

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