Trapped in a space they can't survive, but can't seem to leave, a family lives and dreams. As their world becomes increasingly claustrophobic, these dreams begin to fall apart around them. By submerging the privileged tensions of Chekhov's Three Sisters in an artificially white vacuum, the production interrogates western ideology and asks: how can blackness exist inside this construct?
The production is an exploration into black diaspora psychology. Particularly of people being taken away from their homeland, forced to live in another space and the through time the memory and experience of their home slowly fading away.
Using the African diaspora as the framework, the piece literally places black bodies inside a world made of whiteness. When Irina says ‘I feel something hanging over me’ in Act 4 the audience can see white western artefacts hanging over the players, threatening to fall at any time. The audience watches as these black bodies attempt to live under the weight of whiteness, as the world slowly begins to rupture and break. ‘Logic’, narrative and character all fall away as the world descends into chaos, like Chekhov's original. However, this production places the black body as centre. The audience is placed inside this installation like space and is asked to sit and feel the experience with the performers. There is not a separation here between performer and audience. The audience has entered the world and has to navigate the feeling alongside the performer.
Dramaturg- Elizagrace Madrone
Lighting Designer- Erin Flemming
Scenic and Costume Design- Keenan Oliphant
Production Stage Manager- Lanie Liu
Producer- Philippa Kane
Theatre @ Schapiro Columbia University
16-18 November 2018 New York
Photography: Annie Wang