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A Reader of Fictions: Dancing in the Street - Martha Reeves & the Vandellas

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dancing in the Street - Martha Reeves & the Vandellas

for colored girls who have considered suicide - when the rainbow is enuf

Author: Ntozake Shange
Narrator: Thandie Newton
Duration: 1 hr, 59 mins
Publisher: Audible, Inc.

Story:
Written in 1975, for colored girls, is a choreopoem, which, apparently, means that it is a collection of poems performed as a play. Shange wrote this as a feminist, giving voice to the colored woman's experience. Obviously, I am not the primary audience for whom this play was intended. However, I still found parts of this extremely moving. Some aspects of experience run through womankind.

Usually, I skip introductions, prefaces, etc. This may be shameful, but I just want to get on to the story. However, in this case, I am so glad I didn't. For some reason, the most moving part of this story was the introduction, written for this later edition of the story by the author.

It tells the story of how the play came to be and of all of the different versions that have been put on that she has witnessed. She even mentioned, with pride, that a version was done by an all-white theatre in Kentucky, which focused on economic class rather than race. This displays and openness that I really appreciate.

Performance:
Thandie Newton is cast in the film version Tyler Perry is currently creating. This I learned from the super helpful introduction. Her narration really worked for me. Her voice is rather quiet and calm, yet can be full of emotion when needed.

Most of the story, she speaks in a steady, quiet tone. I think this conveyed a sense of the way that women, colored women, have submitted to terrible things in the past. Then, in the portions where she yelled or sang, a juxtaposition is created between the brightness of women standing up for themselves.

Despite her having done a great job, it's a bit weird listening to a play. Certain things just can't be the same, like when the actresses are supposed to be dancing to a song, like "Dancing in the Street."

Rating: 4/5

"All we need is music, sweet music,
There'll be music everywhere
There'll be swingin' swayin', and records playin,
Dancin' in the street"

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Audrey (Bibliosaurus Text) said...

This sounds fascinating. I also think Thandie Newton is amazing, so I'm excited to see she provided the voice talents for the audiobook.

December 28, 2011 at 7:52 PM  

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