Thursday, June 09, 2016

The Color Purple

The Color Purple has been well-reviewed all over the place, and I generally agree that it is a strong production of a moving show. But I have a serious ax to grind.

In Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple, the protagonist Celie, who has been breathtakingly mistreated from birth, comes to life when she becomes lovers with the vibrant Shug. Shug helps Celie reclaim herself--and introduces her to what her body can do. She teaches Celie about her "button" and its magic orgasmic powers.

So, silly me, when I saw that the song list included "Push da Button," I happily anticipated a lovely lesbian love/sex song.

And instead got a song teaching women how to please their men!!!!

In this version of The Color Purple, Celie and Shug's relationship is underplayed almost to invisibility. While the heterosexual couples bump and grind, Celie and Shug hug. While Harpo and Sophia's relationship is highlighted, Celie and Shug's is lowlighted. It's truly infuriating!

When John Doyle famously pared The Color Purple to what the New York Times calls "its essence," he missed its soul.

Wendy Caster
(P14; tdf ticket)

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