In the Red & Brown Water

Claire Trevor Theater
UC Irvine, CA

In the Red and Brown Water was written by Tarrell Alvin McCraney, a prolific playwright who addresses current topics in the African America community. This very lyrical and poetic playwright tells a story about a young, woman of color, Oya, and her struggle to find her place in the hostile world around her. We discover her pain when she passes up an athletic scholarship at a big university to stay with her mother who is dying. She finds that she has no other destiny but to bear children. However, to her despair she discovers that she is barren and the man she loves is a playboy and deserts her. In her anguish, she cuts off her ear and gifts it to her lover Shango who once caressed it so tenderly.

This story is based off the gods of the Yoruban culture and in my design I wanted to capture the mysticism and folkloric aspects of the story, while retaining the distress of this girls surroundings and struggle. The Yoruban gods are associated with many things in nature and it was important in my design to represent this, so with no scenic elements, I created an ethereal surrounding in which the sky changed with the flow of the story while also creating the isolation and separation of space for the actors.

Director: Shannon Ferrante, Scenic Design: Stacy McKenney, Costume Design: Julianna Brei-Crawley, Sound Design: Jeff Polunas

Photography by Anna Rodil