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EIU Theatre Upcoming Event

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From Thursday, April 11, 2019
To Sunday, April 14, 2019
by kenna.kj

A combination of poetic monologues, music, and dance movements, the moving production “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange will be presented at Eastern Illinois University April 11,12, 13 at 7:30, with a final performance April 14 at 2 p.m. This acclaimed theatre piece tells the story of eight women of color who have suffered from different forms of oppression. The production will take place in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Theatre located on the EIU campus in Charleston.

Presented by Eastern’s Department of Theatre Arts, the performance is directed by guest director Tanisha Pyron. The show features a cast of nine women currently attending Eastern. The cast features Simone Reynolds in the role of Lady in Red, Kayla Davis in the role of Lady in Orange, Sabrina Turner in the role of Lady in Yellow, Bri Taylor-Burch in the role of Lady in Green, Elizette Garza in the role of Lady in Blue, Adriana J. Phelps Patton in the role of Lady in Indigo, Niara Powell in the role of Lady in Purple, and Daija Kelley in the role of Lady in Brown.

When Kevin Doolen, Chair of the Theatre Department, spoke about the cast of the women he stated that the cast is speaking to everyone. “Theatre welcomes people from different walks and the actors get to take on these roles and learn about periods of history that faces different challenges.” Guest director Tanisha Pyron shared a similar view and what the women will bring to the show. “Choosing these specific women to develop the stories was a challenging experience, but I felt their voices and their energy would showcase the stories of oppressed women.” Expressing their own thoughts about the show, the actors were happy and excited to be part of a powerful and moving production.

“As a department committed to celebrating diversity I hope this production will reach out to different communities and for a diverse audience to attend the performance,” said Doolen. The Theatre department is “shedding light on the everyday lives of colored women and the show is a celebratory of blackness.”

Commenting on the recent passing of author Ntozake Shange, Tanisha Pyron said “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf” was thirty years ahead of its time and now is the time to fully embark on what this story is talking about.” Cast members said the spirt of Ntozake is alive in the production and the women who have performed this before bring liveliness and a spiritual experience to the stage.

Doolen, Pyron, and the cast all agree, Eastern’s production will leave the audience wanting to do more, that it is time for change and they are hoping that’s exacty what the audience will do. “I hope the audience will leave the show with more empathy for women of color,” said Pyron. “We are in a time where we talk at a lot of issues instead of doing something, we want people to step up.” Pyron stated she is looking forward to seeing all the actors in costume performing in front of an audience, and showing all the hard work they’ve put into this performance.

Following the opening night’s show there will be a talk-back to discuss the different themes and aspects of the performance. Community members and students are encouraged to attend and join in on the conversation. Cast members said they are looking forward to women of color, no matter what race, ethnicity, or nationality, to leave the performance feeling empowered and loved, and know that women of color are not alone. The actors said they look forward to other cultures noticing the struggles that black women go through and they can learn from it.

“Everyone is very excited for this production,” Doolen added. “I encourage people of all backgrounds to come celebrate and to learn about the lives in this play. We benefit from learning from all people.” Tanisha Pyron’s last words about the show is “it’s a timeless piece of theater. Every woman of color on this campus, no matter what race or how they identify, should consider attending it’s a must-see show. People with mothers, daughter, girlfriends, it is a must-see!”

Tickets for the show “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf” are $13 for general admission, $11 for seniors (62+) and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the Doudna Fine Arts Center Box Office. Box Office hours are Tuesday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and one hour prior to the scheduled performance.

The Doudna Fine Arts Center is located at 1860 South 7th Street in Charleston on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. Convenient free parking is located near the fine arts center. To arrange accommodations for those needing special assistance, contact Doudna Fine Arts Patron Services at 217-581-3110 or