by Maxwell Snyder
Now that black odyssey rehearsals are in full swing, what better way to get ready than by delving into the costume design by Kara Harmon? You may remember her incredible costumes from Trinity Rep’s production of Ragtime. Her work has been seen on stage, film, and television, most popularly in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and the Netflix original series Daredevil.
In Marcus Gardley’s beautifully vibrant world, Kara Harmon’s costumes stand out for taking a neo-classical approach to these refurbished deities. Set during the Gulf War, black odyssey follows Ulysses Lincoln on his journey home, sending him through his past before he can arrive at his present. The costumes will take you from the 1960’s civil rights movement to the funky disco wave to the throes of war.
We follow Ulysses Lincoln, played by Joe Wilson, Jr., as he comes home from war to his beloved wife, Nella Pell Lincoln, played by Kalyne Coleman. On his journey, he finds himself in the midst of many characters, past, present, and divine who try to help or hurt him on his path.
Kara Harmon takes the gods of black odyssey; Deus, Paw Sidin, and Aunt Tina, who are based on the Greek gods Zeus, Poseidon, and Athena, and gives them a magnificent and otherworldly look as they fight over the fate of Ulysses Lincoln. Deus duels with his brother Paw Sidin, played by Resident Acting Company member Jude Sandy and Omar Robinson, throughout Ulysses’ journey, while Julia Lema cares for his family in his absence.
With a chorus of Yemaya dancers performing a traditional Afro-Cuban dance style; Circe, the train conductor with an insatiable appetite for men; and some soul sirens with familiar faces, such as the Diana Ross inspired Carib’dis; black odyssey takes you through an epic journey of history, culture, and family.
Since this is a new adaptation of a classic story, it was important for the designs to match the scope in which this story is being told. The designers of black odyssey created the costumes, set, lights, music, and sound with that modernity in mind to elevate this vibrant world. This production has a nod to the classical influence of the script, while looking forward to a new era of classical that celebrates people of all backgrounds. black odyssey runs January 3 to February 3, 2019.