for colored boys who have considered s-curls when the hot comb was enuf

An exuberant production explores the facts and fictions of gay black men


Through June 2

Tickets are $12-20


Theater Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St. (between South Van Ness and Mission), S.F.

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Spanning the time period from African roots to American slavery to snap divas, Marvin K. White's for colored boys may be an "homage" to Ntozake Shange's classic choreo-poem "for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf," but the title alone telegraphs that this ain't no show about Black Women's Pain. No, honey, this is all about the African-American gay male experience. (Snap. Snap.) The company of five talented men spiritedly directed by Johari Jabir slips exuberantly between pathos and joy, sensuality and hilarity, lyricism and satire. White's poems lend themselves to a theatrical presentation (it doesn't hurt that he's a former member of Pomo Afro Homos), and on a stripped-bare stage we are treated to poetic vignettes acted, danced, and sung. Even if a poem here or there doesn't grab your attention, or if some performances prove uneven, the overall production is still successful in communicating the facts and fictions about gay black men -- which are more universal than you might imagine. The hot comb may straighten the hair, but it won't straighten the man. (Snap. Snap.) Being gay in the black community and black in the gay community is a double whammy, and White translates this schism with lyrical force, avoiding clichés and staying off the political soapbox. Although for colored boys does not maintain the sustained force of the play based on "for colored girls," it does have passion and admirable conviction. Does that translate into enlightening entertainment? Girlfriend, it's a snap.

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