“Every one of my cast members are stars… this is the most talented cast I’ve worked with for this production–incredible actors and even better people.”~Frankie Darcell, syndicated WDAS-FM personality, director and producer of ‘For Colored Girls.’
By Monica Peters
It is finally here.
105.3 WDAS-FM Frankie Darcell’s highly anticipated directorial of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf takes center stage Mar. 2, 3 and 4 at the Seaport Independence Museum.
Presented by Diva at the Stage Door with Steve Kemp and directed and produced by Frankie, the highly anticipated production features some of the region’s brightest talent.
Frankie dives deep into the significance of Shange’s classic 1975 stage production and what it took to bring it to fruition.
SUN: You have an accomplished history of directing plays, what made you decide to take on the production of For Colored Girls?
FD: I am a huge fan of Ntozake Shange. Her work and specifically For Colored Girls speaks directly to my life experiences and many of the women I know. To share this iconic piece in her words and my interpretation on stage gives me the opportunity to let women know, that I know their life experience– and that they are not alone in how to deal with or solve them in a very serious and humorous way.
SUN: For those who may not have seen Ntozake Shange’s play or read the book, explain its relevancy and importance?
FD: The play is nearly 40-years-old and could have been written yesterday which shows it relevance and how important the content is today. No matter your social, economic or financial status we all deal with some of the same stuff! We just have different resources or coping skills to resolve them.
SUN: Describe your audition process and preparing for opening day
FD: I held auditions in August and rehearsals started in September. We’ve worked extremely hard and have been though several transitions which is expected when casting for a production such as this because many of the actors can personally relate to the script and experiences on the pages. I don’t always look for the “best” actor but the actor with passion. We do a lot of praying and getting to know each other during the rehearsal process. I would rather work with a person that has less skill but more drive. I’ll shape them into the character I want them to be and how they connect with the other cast members. And by far, collectively, this is the most talented cast I’ve worked with for this production–incredible actors and even better people.
SUN: Tell us about the phenomenal cast and specifically how WDAS personality Mimi Brown became involved with the play.
FD: Every one of my cast members are stars. Mimi Brown happens to be my coworker and the best known. One Sunday afternoon preparing for auditions, she saw the script and we started to talk about the content. We had a great conversation laughing and talked about the serious stuff. Then I saw her as the color Green on stage. I asked her to consider and after a couple weeks she said yes. What has been most impressive is that with all her success and notoriety she has been down to earth and one of the girls. I’ve been excited to get to know her even better as a coworker and now a friend.
SUN: Thank you for sharing your insight with us Frankie. The SUN is proud to be a media sponsor of this exciting production.
Impact of Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking play
The themes in Shange’s innovative choreopoem, which also became a Broadway hit upon its debut, still resonates. Black women today still struggle with the same challenges ranging from love, abuse and the societal factors that make the existence of being a Black woman in America brutal at times. The characters in the play are not identified by their names but rather characterized by colors that make up the rainbow such as Lady in Green and Lady in Orange etc.
In the era of #MeToo, Frankie’s production of For Colored Girls is timely.
Women of this generation are making their voices heard resulting in changes in policy ranging from government to the corporate sector. #Metoo has brought sexual harassment, assault and similar issues to the forefront.
This weekend’s production of For Colored Girls can be used as an opportunity for families, individuals and couples to discuss if much has changed today regarding Black women’s experiences. It also creates space for men and boys to constructively engage in discussion, understanding and hopefully stand in solidarity with women.
Simply put: See this play.
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf will be at the Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S Christopher Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia. For available tickets for Friday Mar. 2, Saturday Mar. 3 and Sunday Mar. 4 call 267-751-9624.