GEM OF THE OCEAN
by August Wilson
Directed by Christine Menzies, Cal State University Northridge
Scenic Design: Carlo Maghirang.
Reimagining the kitchen drama context found in many of Wilson's plays, the space was reimagined as a sanctuary, honing in on the act of ritualistic cleansing as means to erase oppression from the body. Using the constant action of washing laundry as metaphor to visualize this, we chose an open architectural structure to define the philosophy of Aunt Esther's home, with laundry hung above in ways reminiscent to lynched bodies or flotsam from a shipwreck. The play culminates with all elements coming to life, as the laundry descends to both function as sails and to move the entire structure to immerse us in the feeling of being consumed by the movement of the ocean.