In the Red and Brown Water


Writers: Tarell Alvin McCraney


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Time & Place
Distant Present, San Pere, Louisiana
Cast Size
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, Diverse Cast, Regional Theatre
Casting Notes

Includes late teen, young adult, adult, early teen, mature adult, elderly characters


The first play in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Brother/Sister Plays Trilogy, In The Red and Brown Water follows a young runner named Oya as she navigates growing up, grief, love, expectations, and loss. Oya begins the plays as a track star destined for greatness. When she realizes that her mother is sick and dying, Oya gives up a college scholarship to become her mother’s caretaker. When her mother dies, leaving her alone in her hometown of San Pere, Louisiana, Oya leaves behind her identity as a runner and becomes the lover of a local man named Ogun, who has loved Oya for a long time. They begin to make a life together, embracing the communities expectation of settling down, but Oya is constantly being pulled to another man named Shango, who is a much more charming ‘bad boy type’. Shango leaves for war, but comes back into town and drives a wedge into Oya’s life with Ogun. Oya meanwhile, realizes that she can’t have children, and is sent into an emotional spiral, eventually leading her to push Ogun away. When she finds out that a local girl is pregnant with Shango’s child, Oya snaps and makes a decision that labels her as crazy to the rest of the community.

Lead Characters

In the Red and Brown Water guide sections