By J. S. Ramkissoon
A Review of the Play:
What Black Women Want
It was Friday, 28th May 2010. My husband and I set out for a long anticipated night-out, feeling like a couple again. We sat in the audience at the Globe Theatre, Dunstable. The curtains went up, the stage was set, the crowd cheered as Glorious Jones walked on stage in her elegant black dress, and mesmerising voice. Already it was worth the wait to see the play/musical ‘What Black Women Want.’
We journeyed into the lives of various women as the main character, Glorious Jones, shared the stories behind her songs. The play looked at loss in various forms (from the death of a child or loved one to the loss of a loving or abusive relationship) and how the individuals dealt with these losses. As the audience connected with these individuals the fear of rejection/abandonment echoed as we heard the chains of depression, child abuse/neglect, domestic violence etc. Then we heard the captivating sounds of laughter and singing. It was a display of loving relationships blossoming: The romance returning to a marriage, after years of child rearing; dreams reviving; mother and daughter re-uniting; a husband and wife making a new start, after a period of separation and friendship that goes the distance. It was a reminder that there are happy endings even after facing a life-time of hardship.
As the individuals shared how the songs of Glorious Jones touched their lives in various ways, I believe it gave hope to those seated in the audience craving that connection with their loved ones. Some, like the characters on stage, would have found comfort through the words of the songs as they started their journey of healing while others would have found new meaning to life as they celebrate their togetherness and/or reunion. The play is about relationships, with a strong couples/marriage tone, yet it brought something for everyone. It also made a great treat for all lovers of gospel music. Brilliant acting!
I laughed. I cried. I felt like a little child again as I watched the mother-daughter scene unfold (being forced to face some hidden pain from my childhood and teen years) but I wasn’t left hanging. Like an angel, Glorious came with some encouraging words which touched my heart and I was smiling again. I commend the writer and producer, Yaw Asiyama, for the brilliant uncomplicated and dignified way in which he dealt with the under-carpet issues that so often contribute to the breakdown of our family network. He told the story of every woman, in that all we want is RESPECT.
It was indeed an awesome experience, being part of the journey of Glorious Jones*, in ‘What Black Women Want’. A well presented piece.
If you missed the final show you can join the mailing list and follow the progress of this project. You can also purchase the soundtrack to get a taste of this production (highly recommended—you won’t be disappointed). Find out how you can help to extend the life of this project by visiting the website at: www.whatblackwomenwant.co.uk.
© Janice S Ramkissoon 2010
*Played by Sandra McCalla who is also Choir Director for the Luton Gospel Community Choir