AFRICAN AMERICAN REVIEW

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Indiana State University

Colored Contradictions: An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Plays. by Harry J. Elam,; Robert Alexander Review by: Robert Craig Baum African American Review, Vol. 31, No. 4, Contemporary Theatre Issue (Winter, 1997), pp. 732-735 Published by: Indiana State University Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3042346 . Accessed: 14/02/2013 03:56 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

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social, but in large part only as they are subsumableto the great proletariat-bourgeoisie battle.

Can shange's work be said to speak to the problemsin Soyinka,Walcott,and Barakasummarized in the above review of the three chaptersdevoted to these writers?Here I had hoped for a reading more directlytied to issues raised in the earlierdiscussions. Olaniyan,because he does not focus on possible tracesof hybridity in the language of those Barakaworks to which shange attributesher own experimentswith language, fails to highlight the specialness of shange's "/mulatto" language and especially the language she so skillfully employs in for colored girls ... : the language of movement. Dance is equal in this work to the spoken word-and, in its freedom from verbal lexicons, free to cross multiple a discourses. Her work is a "choreopoem," title that one may argue signals dance as more centralthan verbal discourses (choreoprecedespoem). In her choice of colors ratherthan names, she attemptsto avoid the essentializing trap of traditionalprotest plays. Her ladies are as multiple as the colors of the rainbow, and in that multiplicity they escape simple binaries,moving instead toward a much richerand more complex culturalidentity. shange is acutely aware of the centralityof class and gender in culturalformations,and she directly deals with these issues suppressed/repressed in the male-authoredworks. referredto in The myriad song referencesare more than the simple "saturation" Stephen Henderson's study; they situate the work in a specific historicalperiod and clearly point to class and gender culturalparticulars. But these are minor cavils given the theoreticalpower and the enabling opening which Olaniyanprovides. It is a testamentto his power and leads the reader to want to see more of Olaniyan'sstunning close reading in the sections on Barakaand shange, guided by his sure theoreticalgrounding.

representsa signifiolored Contradictions cant editorialevent for the field of AfricanAmericandrama.This highly anticipatedand critically necessarycompilationof African-American voices performingon contemporaryAmericanstages provides generaland scholarlyreaderswith an Reviewed by exceptionaleditorialnarrativeof late eighties, early Robert Craig Baum nineties artisticand historicalrevisionism.HarryJ. Dartmouth College Elam,Jr.,and RobertAlexanderhave undoubtedly African American Review, Volume 31, Number 4 published dramatictexts that agree with Alexander's ? 1997 Robert Craig Baum prefatoryexcitementand vision for a collectionof "playsthat bite, contradict,sample, inform,you know, plays thatbe kickingmad flava. . . " (17). In ColoredContradictions Pomo Afro Homos' episodic performancesof their particularAfrican-American experience(FierceLove)structureand comment gay on the social and...
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