I believe in producing important stories that reveal well-rounded, informative, and captivating work revolving around the global majority. I have been fortunate enough to work on productions that extend this outlook as a lighting designer.
Please refer to my website here: www.annemcmillslighting.com
It is ideal to tell stories of the global majority without focusing on trauma, but instead celebrating all humans as humans with human stories. Casting can be a way to celebrate members of the global majority by normalizing mixed skin tones, races, and ethnicities within a piece. In my website I showcase two productions with open casting approaches: The Last Five Years and Sense and Sensibility. Productions that choose to be mindful about casting promote this value of normalcy.
Also telling important and forgotten stories is another method of showcasing the global majority, which has been missing in traditional theatre for so long. I was the lighting designer for Marie and Rosetta – a play about two forgotten, black, rock-n-roll icons who largely influenced the emergence of white rock-n-roll. Being able to work on productions like these that celebrate people and cultures that have been largely forgotten creates design as activism. Marie and Rosetta brings awareness to these real, historical icons – Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight – that many have not heard of. Because they are black women, they did not get the same attention as individuals like Elvis and Johnny Cash, whose work they influenced. In fact, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was the first person to stand and sing in front of her band while playing guitar. This is something that has become a staple of the rock-n-roll world, but is typically not recognized as being originated by a black woman. Marie and Rosetta also explores the love affair that these two partners allegedly developed throughout the years. Being able to celebrate a wonderful LGBTQIA+ story in addition to a powerful play about black historical figures cements this play as an important work.
More work like this needs to continue to be produced. Designing them and bringing attention to them is a form of activism.
Cygnet Theatre – San Diego, CA
Playwright – George Brant
Director – Rob Lutfy
Scene Design – Elizabet Puksto
Costume Design – Chanel A. Mahoney
Lighting Design – Anne E. McMills
Sound Design – TJ Fucella
Wig Personnel – Peter Herman
Props Artisan – Rachel Hengst
Stage Manager – Matthew Bantock
Tech Director – Branigan Duguay
Assistant Lighting Design – Winston G. Limauge
Actors featured in Photos
Noël Simoné Wippler
Photographer – Karli Cadel Photography
Photographer – Sean Fanning