Funnyhouse of a Negro
Tisch Dama Stage | Burrows Theatre | New York, NY
Directed by Chelsea Harrison
Scenic Design by Gaya Chatterjee
Costume Design by Sharone Malka
Lighting Design by Jessica Wall
Sound Design by Chris Darbassie
Funnyhouse of a Negro is a modern classic about the student Sarah, a young black woman living in New York City and her search for her identity in a very complex, warring, and fractured world. This search is manifested in her many selves: Queen Vicoria, the Duchess of Hapsburg, Patrice Lumumba and Jesus Christ. She was a bastard child of cultures that were not her own, despite being deeply ingrained in her. Cultural Schisms and racial America are at the forefront of a play dismantling the romanticism of race and shining a light on the depth of the damage institutionalized racism has inflicted.
May 20th - June 1st 2020, Cancelled March 12 due to the rising numbers of Corona Virus cases in New York City
Lighting Concept Renderings
The general tone of lighting as described by Kennedy in the stage directions is a harsh, unnatural white light. This takes form in the production as a harsh white lavender top light meant as a direct foil to the warmer 'ritual' scenes and a means of complimenting the darker skin tones of the actors.
In between scenes and typically prompted by the mother character are the 'rituals' dance and movement based moments of isolation. These moments encompass a warm, comforting look, while staying with the deep shadowed look of dance design.
As the play progresses and the audience is brought further and further into Sarah's mind, the set begins to change. The harsh whites are replaced by royal purples, rich reds and soft blues. The set is outlined in LED lights to give it a new transformative look in the funnyhouse.
The Jungle is the deepest part of Sarah's self hatred and a pivotal point in the play. At this point the stage opens up and is covered in soft and calming greens and blues. While Sarah is unable to leave the center platform, there is a sense of calm or freedom amidst the turmoil of her struggle.