Emerge: 7 Women, 7 Stools
Though playwright Lady Kitty Griffin says her work was inspired by Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls, Griffin takes a fresh look at women's stories, as her 7 Women sing, dance and talk us though some of the more difficult moments like a cancer or HIV diagnosis, a daughter's addiction, a child's rape, an abused wife and child, a star crossed lover. Music opens the door on other lives in the brownstone and perhaps in the neighborhood.
Eve Ensler also came to mind, but nope the only similarities are the stools and the women and the fact that these are also oft unheard stories, stories of sorrow and triumph. Certainly there are consequences and Griffin and co-writer, Delilah Rashell do not sugarcoat the irreversible effects of some of these fatal moves, but despite all of this one finds herself rooting for the home team--those seven women--often seated so they don't fall. We want them to pull through: the housewife, the hustler, the cancer patient, the grandmother, the college student, and the preacher's wife.
Black Rep was full, not an easy feat Saturday night, a busy night in the San Francisco Bay Area. The beautiful people were out, gorgeous black women who waving lands above their heads stood in the audience, especially during the second Act and praised the lord. Highly participatory Lady Kitty invited us to stand clap, sing and testify.
One knows she's died and gone to the Cabin in the Sky when a white actress sings "Amazing Grace," amazingly. It works so well thematically as the college student has some hard decisions to make. I appreciated the line: One shouldn't make permanent decisions based on a temporary issue. Keep an eye out; the producers would like to bring the play back to the SF Bay for a longer run.
This is not a children's play, although I saw a lot of kids in the audience.