IU Theatre to present Tarell Alvin McCraney’s critically acclaimed IN THE RED AND BROWN WATER

November 13, 2014

(updated November 17, 2014)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind – This December, Indiana University’s Department of Theatre, Drama, & Contemporary Dance will produce In the Red and Brown Water, which the LA Times called, “sensational,” while describing McCraney as, “a dramatic poet in the process of discovering his singular voice.”

Originally produced in repertory with two of McCraney’s other works at the Public Theatre, In the Red and Brown Water presents an African-American girl coming of age in rural Louisiana. Oya’s dreams seem within reach when she is offered an athletic scholarship, but her mother’s failing health forces her to make a gut-wrenching decision.

PR image

Patricia Millard (Oya) and Yusef Agunbiade (Elegba)

“It is said of one character in this gorgeous trilogy… that she ‘breathes like the wind.’ So do Mr. McCraney’s plays, which are pumped full of a senses-heightening oxygen that leaves you tingling,” wrote Ben Brantley in the New York Times review of the original production.

Even though In the Red and Brown Water is set in Louisiana, the play incorporates characters and themes from Yoruba folklore (of Southwest Nigera), highlighting a deep-seated legacy within every African-American. But the play is also based on Yerma – a 1934 play by Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca – creating a one-of-kind cultural intertwining, not unlike the mashup of peoples and cultures in Louisiana today.

The show is directed by MFA director David Kote, who originally pitched it to the department last year. Kote first experienced the play at Alliance Theater in Atlanta, Ga., when he was teaching theater at a nearby high school. Frustrated by the impracticalities of bringing his students to the production, Kote contacted Tarell Alvin McCraney and arranged for the cast to perform selections from the piece at his school.

The experience deeply inspired the students – as well as the teacher.

“I think it’s important for people on this campus to experience stories that take place outside of their own scope of existence,” says Kote. “I loved seeing M. Butterfly here for the same reason. To me, that’s a responsibility we have as artists, to expose people to stories from the other side of the tracks, so to speak – places and people we might not consider deeply without a particular work of art to point us in that direction.”

WHAT: In the Red and Brown Water, by Tarell Alvin McCraney

WHEN: Dec. 5, 6, 9 – 12 at 7:30 p.m. / Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Wells-Metz Theatre, Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

TICKETS: Regular admission is $25 for adults, $15 for students, $20 for senior citizens. 812.855.1103 or theatre.indiana.edu. Group discounts available.

Cast and creative team information is available at http://www.indiana.edu/~thtr/productions/2014/intheredandbrownwater.shtml

Audience Guide: http://www.flipsnack.com/IUTheatre/iu-theatres-in-the-red-brown-water-audience-guide.html

La otra América: “In the Red & Brown Water” enlazando Africa, Espana y los Estados Unidos – a blog post on the play’s relationship to Federico Garcia Lorca’s play “Yerma”

For more information, contact Amy Osajima at aosajima@indiana.edu.

Rehearsal Images:


Patricia Millard (Oya) and Yusef Agunbiade (Elegba)


Patricia Millard (Oya) and Brianna Milan (Aunt Elegua)


Ian Martin (Shango) and Kiko Laureano (Shun)

Red  Brown Finals 9

Red  Brown Finals




2 Responses to IU Theatre to present Tarell Alvin McCraney’s critically acclaimed IN THE RED AND BROWN WATER

  1. Ama Boakyewa says:

    This sounds and looks so enthralling!!!..Dr. Boakyewa

  2. Ghangis D. Carter says:

    This experience was epic! I’m actually mad at myself for not seeing it opening night versus its second night.

    From the hip-hop, Caribbean inspired background tunes that kept my feet tapping as the play got underway to the powerful acting of each cast member to courageous vision and cultural insight of Bro. David Paul Kote’ to bring “In the Red and Brown Water’ to IU Bloomington, this gripping theatrical performance doesn’t disappoint. I encourage any and all to get to the Metz-Wells Theatre for the play’s remaining show dates: 9-13 December 2014!

    Bro. Kote’: To your ‘bridge building’ uplift and vision and your talent-rich students I say, “Well done thy good and faithful thespians!”


    Bro. Carter

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