Take a Dive “In The Red and Brown Water”

By: Taylor Ardrey

WASHINGTON – Taking a leap into murky waters might not be so bad this week with Howard University’s Division of Fine Arts adaption of “In The Red and Brown Water,” by Academy Award Winning, Tarell Alvin McCraney which previewed Oct. 31, at Ira Aldridge Theater.

Directed by Eric Ruffin, “In The Red and Brown Water” was a marvelously crafted display of creativity, undeniable infectious enthusiasm and phenomenal audience interaction.

“In The Red and Brown Water” revolves around Oya, played by Chinna Palmer, a junior acting major, whose life is a roller coaster ride as she struggles and faces the trials and tribulations of being a woman in society. She simultaneously tries to find happiness in a life where she has made an abundance of sacrifices.

“Oya is a relatable girl to many of us college girls especially dealing with men and family and trying to find herself outside of all the mess in her life. She really just tries her best and gives her all,” explained Palmer.

Oya’s journey throughout life takes a lot of unexpected twists and turns, and her long-time friend Elegba, played by Tre’mon Kentrell Mills, a junior acting major, witnesses her hardships. Elegba becomes a witty, vibrant, and entertaining character throughout the play as the audience witnesses his life progression and how he embraces his true being.  

“Elegba is amazing in the way that he rules in his sexuality. In the Yoruba tradition to be bisexual means to be praiseworthy and Elegba embraces that to the most fullest extent. He is in the line between the divine and the immortal world so he is one who connects with his ancestors and one who is also just a sight to see,” said Mills.


(Above) Cast members Chinna Palmer and Tre’mon Kentrell Mills after Oct. 31 preview of “In The Red and Brown Water,” directed by Eric Ruffin.

From beginning to end, the audience was fully invested in the characters. From the arrogant womanizer Shango, played by John Chukwudelunzu, who is a senior, public relations major,  and the spicy Aunt Elegua, played by Brittany Turner, a junior theatre arts major, the audience couldn’t keep their eyes off the stage.

“This play was one for the books. There were times when I wanted to laugh and wanted to cry. I felt like I was on the journey with Oya and I could relate to many of the problems she faced. Shango was getting me upset throughout the play which shows how fully invested in the show I was,” said Betty Ayneta, economics Major.   

“It was a great play. Everyone should definitely come out and watch it. It was funny and it made you think into the play’s messages,” said Nia Moore, junior biology major.

The play was musically directed by Bert Cross II and choreographed by Dwayne Murray. It is for mature audiences. 

With it’s exciting dance numbers, eye-pleasing visual displays and above average acting performances by Howard students, grab a life jacket because these murky waters are surely worth the swim from November 1-4 at Ira Aldridge Theater. 



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