Ntozake Shange tells a story of seven women of color who have to endure lots of constraints. Shange’s play is one of the most powerful works that unveil wrongs of the society where women are exposed to numerous issues. The play is a unique combination of women’s poetic narrations.
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Admittedly, it is difficult to imagine how this poetic story can be screened. However, Tyler Perry’s film, For Colored Girls (2010) is an example of a successful screening of such a complicated play. The film is closely based on the play and is very similar to it. There are some differences as it is impossible to avoid them. Nonetheless, the filmmakers managed to tell the same story and maintain the unique effect the play makes.
As has been mentioned above, the film is closely based on the play. There are several women who face a variety of issues. These issues are regarded as a stigma for women of color.
Thus, one of these women has to cope with her man’s infidelity, and another suffers from domestic violence. One woman decides to cease her relationship with her man while others have to consider a much more important issue and decides to terminate her pregnancy. Therefore, Perry keeps the major characters and themes discussed in the play.
The filmmakers also employ major symbols of the play, i.e., they keep the color. Thus, women are predominantly dressed in ‘their’ colors. The use of color is important as it creates an explicit distinction among women. On the one hand, though they are all women of color, they have different problems, which makes them different.
On the other hand, the problems they face are all related to self-identification, empowerment, vulnerability, wrongs of the society, i.e., the problems make the women members of the society which is imperfect. The colors also form a rainbow, i.e., they are different manifestations of a single phenomenon. This concept is well-presented in the film and the play.
The film also preserves some elements of the form. For instance, it has a very strong beginning with one of the songs from the play. The film is also full of music, dance, and movement, just like the play. Even though the film is made in the form of an episode form the women’s life, the filmmakers find a place for music, songs, and dance.
However, though the film preserves some elements of the form, it is still very different. The film is a story of certain periods in these women’s lives. The play is somewhat alienated from the real-life settings. The play is more poetic.
The play is a reflection of women’s experiences, which is delivered in a very poetic form, i.e., in the form of songs, dances, and movements. The film focuses on real-life settings. The filmmakers help the viewers see what happens to the women and how they feel and react. The play is more concerned with women’s feelings and their perception of reality.
The filmmakers also add two characters which are not present in the play. However, it is necessary to note that these characters do not change the idea, but simply enhance the effect of the film. Apart from two additional female characters, there are many other characters incorporated into the film’s story. These characters are indispensable as they are necessary for recreating a real-life story.
Furthermore, there is another important difference between the play and the film. One of the major peculiarities of the play is improvisation. Shange improvised during the performance. She often changed words and movement. Other actresses also improvised and their improvisation created a really special atmosphere. Change believed improvisation to be an indispensable part of the culture and even the nature of women of color. Admittedly, the filmmakers did not manage to create an atmosphere of improvisation. This may be due to the nature of cinematography as films are static (as they do not change while viewers are watching) whereas theatrical performances are dynamic.
Nonetheless, irrespective of the differences, the film does not change the effect of Ntozake Shange’s play. Both Shange’s play and its screen interpretation make the viewers experience issues every woman of color has to face. Both works show that women of color may be very different and may have to handle different issues.
However, they can be regarded as a universal concept of the woman of color who tries to find her way in this world. The final scene of the movie recreates the special atmosphere of the play and articulates that major message that the main characters are only different parts of the rainbow.
On balance, it is possible to state that the film is a successful screening of one of the most powerful plays that deal with the experiences of women of color. The filmmakers manage to create the effect of the play as they employ the same symbols. The use of color and music is what makes the film so appealing. The film reveals the wrongs of the society, which makes women of the color search for their paths.