by Rich Quatrone
Strand Theater, Lakewood, NJ
Last night Playwrights on the Rise presented a staged reading of SUPERNATURAL: THE PLAY, written by Audrey Kelley, Candace Kelley, and Gilda Rogers. At first look, the play is about the hair of women of color. I intentionally don’t say “black women” because, as I learned, the shades of skin color of women who have “nappy hair” or “tightly curled hair” or hair that is anything but straight can be almost any hue.
But, of course, black women, especially black American women, have suffered in very unique ways that underlie much of the pain of deciding whether or not to let their hair go natural.
The play is about beauty, about the assertion individual women can make that their hair, the way nature or God gave it to them, is in fact gorgeous. As we learn from the play, letting one’s hair go natural is perhaps the most physically visible sign that a woman has decided to be who she is, no matter what the repercussions are on jobs, in society, in relationships, or in family.
So, the play is more than about hair. It is about self-esteem and being genuine, first with yourself and then with the world.
I loved the play, even as a staged reading. The actresses and script were brilliant. Running the gamut of human emotion, from humor to tragedy, the play is universal in its depiction of the human condition. Bravo to SUPERNATURAL!
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By Asia Martin
What happens at a natural hair meet-up? Many times, these types of events transcend the informal catwalks of hairstyles and the numerous vendors and become gatherings of women who share their journeys of self-discovery that took place by freeing the strands that adorn each of their heads.
After seeing the theatrical play, Supernatural at Crossroads Theater and recently at The Strand Theater in Lakewood, NJ. I can tell you that audiences will get to peek into the depth of these events through the tales of six women.
Supernatural was written, produced by Audrey Kelley, Candace Kelley and Gilda Rogers. The night I saw it, Kelley and Rogers graced the stage to be part of the reading. “We wanted an outlet to tell telling these amazing stories we collected stories,” says Kelley.
The scenes are set up and then narrated by a spunky natural hair blogger who introduces every character at a meet-up; a suave cat who tells of her explored sexuality; a pastor’s wife who speaks up about her illness; a timid woman who sets herself free through her afro; and a corporate woman who wants to set the record straight about her obligations.
I related to the commonality in every character’s hair story. And though we see the characters through the lens of “being black and having natural hair,” as Rogers noted during the talk back at The Strand Theater, the journeys are very universal and they touch home with women of all textures and ethnic backgrounds.
I laughed a lot, cried a bit and even got some goosebumps. I enjoyed the play and the message of self-acceptance that it promoted.