Friday, December 3, 2010

An Interview with Jamila Capitman about the December 2010 production of Love, Queens

After seeing Love, Queens, Who Suffer From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a choreopoem by Jamila Capitman and Heather Thomas, at CCP, I interviewed Jamila Capitman about the meaning of the play the following day on December 3, 2010. This choreopoem was inspired by Ntozake Shange's profoundly successful 1976 play called For Colored Girls Who've Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf I was profoundly moved by Jamila's statement about the function of one of the women in this play, Woman in Lime Green, whom Jamila says represents LUST. She said she wants this character to encourage women, who particularly identify with this character, to ask WHY they do what they do? What makes the unique use of sex so valuable? I thought this was important and following the Lorraine Hansberry-Amiri Baraka path of theater that is supposed to change the way we think about our society. While my September 2010 interview with Heather discussed the need for the audience to challenge the normality of gun violence, my recent interview with Jamila seemed to challenge the normality of male exploitation of female bodies. The Woman in Lime Green is one who puts her sexuality to a very clear use that ensures the audience that her men, her clients will not exploit her without her being able to get back something useful in return. This is challenging the conventional ways we normalize the objectification of women the way that Tyler Perry did with Thandie Newton's character in his film based on Shange's words. We also had a powerful reflection on Ms. Shange after hearing her interview with Harriette Cole and having a live reaction to this interview. I hope this play grows and prospers and becomes the functional art. Jamila I think wisely said that this play is not so much depressing as it is teaching the reality of the difficulty of urban life ULTIMATELY IN ORDER to motivate its audience to do something about it. Ultimately art is functional in this case. I hope this interview enlightens you as much as it did me. -RF.