– Theater Review –PHOTO: UMSL students in the theater department’s production of “In the Red and Brown Water” a the Touhill Oct. 8-12, 2014. Photo by Rob Sifford for The Current 2014 ©
By Christian DeVerger , Staff Writer for The Current
The University of Missouri-St. Louis theater program provided an amazing first performance of “In the Red and Brown Water” on Oct. 9. The play was the fall student production presented by the Department of Fine Arts and Communication in five performances October 9-12 at the Blanche M. Touhill Lee Theater. The production is one of two student productions staged by the UMSL theater department during the academic year.
The play, written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, is centered on a young up-and-coming track star, Oya, and her life in the Louisiana projects. The performance also incorporated amazing music and elements of Yoruba culture. Behind director Jacqueline Thompson, the cast put on an outstanding show that was thought-provoking, funny, entertaining and, at times, tragic.
The first act of the performance opened with music and dance that foreshadowed the rest of the evening. Afterward, the play began at full speed, with Kenyata Tatum playing Oya, the main character. Throughout twists and turns, the story delivered an excellent message about missed opportunity, character, and love.
The story was divided into multiple parts, showing Oya’s life as it progressed through multiple years. Two characters, Elegba (Gustavo Perez Diaz) and Elegua (Tierra Brown) each guide Oya through trial and tribulation as the story progresses. In each section of the story the audience was able to see a piece of Oya fall away, lost to tragedy and sadness. Between the death of her mother (Kimberly Phillips), loss of her scholarship, and rocky romantic life, she ends up facing the ultimate tragedy, failure to conceive.
The cast did a fantastic job bringing each character to life. Through acting and dance the show was lively and well paced. The music behind the performance was also exquisite, and added an additional element that made the piece even more powerful.
All in all, the show was a success, and kept the audience engrossed in a tragic tale that beautiful and dark all at the same time. Even without any experience with theater at all, the show was an enjoyable way to spend a Thursday evening.
© The Current 2014