‘Color Pur­ple’ at Proc­tors high­lights tal­ented cast

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - BUSINESS - By Bob Goepfert

SCH­ENEC­TADY, N.Y. » “The Color Pur­ple” has started it’s na­tional tour at Proc­tors in Sch­enec­tady this week. The re­vival was a large suc­cess on Broad­way and is likely to be a hit on the road.

It’s not your typ­i­cal Broad­way mu­si­cal. “The Color Pur­ple” is a moody piece of the­ater that is more dark drama than it is a rous­ing mu­si­cal. Even though the mu­sic is well­sung and beau­ti­ful, it is so sen­si­tive that you feel that ap­plaud­ing would be dis­re­spect­ful of the sen­ti­ments in the show.

This is es­pe­cially true in the first act where Celie’s tri­als and tribu­la­tion are harsh and many. And be­cause the work is set in the Deep South in the early 20th cen­tury and Celie is a young black wo­man, her tribu­la­tions are mighty.

The sec­ond act is much brighter and the songs more op­ti­mistic.

Be­cause of Celie’s will and faith in God, she over­comes a life filled with the kind of hard­ships that Charles Dick­ens couldn’t have imag­ined. And, even if the play never be­comes light­hearted, Celie’s growth as a suc­cess­ful, in­de­pen­dent wo­man is up­lift­ing and joy­ous.

In­di­vid­u­ally the cast is mostly ex­cel­lent as they find the strength and courage of peo­ple who be­lieve that the fu­ture will be bet­ter. Celie’s jour­ney rep­re­sents the power of be­liev­ing in your­self and the im­por­tance of hav­ing pow­er­ful role mod­els in your life.

Be­cause of the in­de­pen­dence shown to her by strong women like Sophia (Car­rie Com­pere) and Shug Avery (Carla R. Stewart), Celie has proof that a wo­man does not have to be sub­servient.

Adri­anna Hicks is ideal as Celie. In the first act she is a pas­sive per­son, but not a bro­ken wo­man. Hicks makes it clear Celie is a sur­vivor and if she be­haves as docile, it is a sig­nal that be­ing pow­er­less means be­ing pa­tient.

Once Celie re­al­izes that her hus­band’s emo­tional cru­elty has crossed a line, she wakes from her numb ex­is­tence and makes her voice heard. Her out­burst as she ex­presses her in­de­pen­dence is the most buoy­ant mo­ment in the show. As her life im­proves she be­comes a role model as she lives life with grace and is able to for­give. Through­out, Hicks gives an en­dear­ing per­for­mance.

Be­cause it is still early in its year-long run, not all the char­ac­ters are, as of yet, fully de­vel­oped. Some stag­ing seems ten­ta­tive, there are sev­eral awk­ward pauses and the col­lec­tive spirit of the cast some­times seems forced. Tech­ni­cally the show looks good, prov­ing sim­ple is in­deed bet­ter. But the sound was of­ten too low and im­por­tant lines and sen­si­tive lyrics were hard to hear.

How­ever, this is a tal­ented cast and I ex­pect things will be near-per­fect very soon, per­haps by Satur­day, which is their fi­nal day at Proc­tors.

“The Color Pur­ple” is at Proc­tors un­til Sun­day.

For tick­ets and sched­ule in­for­ma­tion, call (518) 346-6204 or log on to proc­tors.org.


“The Color Pur­ple” opened Wed­nes­day at Proc­tors The­atre in Sch­enec­tady.

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