Soho Rep has developed a reputation for reinventing the interior of its theater space, at 46 Walker Street, for each production it hosts. But the transformation for its newest resident, playwright debbie tucker green’s poem-play generations, co-produced with the Play Company, might be the most elaborate yet.
Set designer Arnulfo Maldonado has covered the floor in an inch of burnt-sienna sand, and replaced the walls with corrugated metal slabs in many different colors, behind faded images evoking South-African national and musical culture. As audience members collect around the edges of the space, in the center stands a working kitchen and sink, an oven, a refrigerator, and a single round table, with supplies and foodstuffs piled throughout. The room is bright, pulsing, the central artery of a community far removed from the corporate commercialism of even the most well-meaning off-Broadway theater company. The transportation of a New York audience to the lifeworld of rural South Africa, at least as green and director Leah C. Gardiner have imagined it, is one of this production’s most welcome achievements. The songs of celebration and of mourning that fill this short play more than fulfill the promise of their setting.