POWER PLAY received critical acclaim in its 1996 National Black Theater Production, directed by the late Dr. Barbara Ann Teer and Adunni, winning the Audelco Award for Best Play and again for its 2005 Billie Holiday Theater Production with an extended run directed by Artistic Director Marjorie Moon, earning Lincoln Center Library’s honor of inclusion in their prestigious Bound Edition of “Highlights from the 2005 New York Theater Season”.
(The following is reprinted from Amsterdam News Article August 3, 1996)
Two decades ago, “for colored girls who considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf” ushered in the women’s movement for African-Americans. The award-winning production caused much controversy and provoked outcries from African American men of Black male bashing, verbal castration and character assassination.
In the 70’s, Ntozake Shange’s “Colored Girls” presented a voice for Black women that had previously been unheard. It was a Pandora’s Box of secret fears, pain, hurt and loss between Black men and women that had been silent. Though “For Colored Girls” was a place of healing for many African American women, its appeal was universal for the many women of the world who had no voice. Yet many African-American men view “For Colored Girls” as a personal affront to them as men and to the race as a whole. The “Colored Girls” were faced with charges of traitor, men haters and dykes.
So why has Lorey Hayes come full circle, writing a play glorifying African-American men?
“I was the youngest member of “For Colored Girls,” said Hayes. “When we started creating the work, I didn’t quite understand what it all meant because I had not yet had the experience of the women Ntozake was writing about. Years later, as I watched a revival of the play, I was overwhelmed with the power and intensity of emotions it evoked in me. I was now a woman and had met or dated men wo seemed to be clones of those depicted in “Colored Girls”. But I was also fortunate enough to have met the kind of men who make you want to climb to the top of Mt. Everest and scream “There are great Black men in the world.
For African-American people to be healed as a race, we must heal our relationships by giving homage to the spirit that lifted us from slavery and segregation and is still with us today as we continue to fight for equality. The backbone of our courage has always been our togetherness, our families, Our salvation as a people will be in reestablishing our linkage and uplifting each other. What keeps us strong is our ability to transcend adversity and to stand up and take care of our own. My plays, in reflecting my respect for men, allow me to create strong, powerful roles for women.” (End of Reprint)