The stoop. At the top of the stoop is the main character's bed, propped up on BART windows and books. The backdrop is created from sewn bedsheets.

Chasing Mehserle (2014)

Chinaka Hodge’s follow up to the 2010 play Mirrors in Every Corner follows the main character Watts as he becomes increasingly commanded by a need to find Oscar Grant’s murderer, Johannes Mehserle. After the end of Mirrors in Every Corner, Watts is marooned in his house, never venturing further than his stoop until he decides to find Mehserle. 

Invited to create the sets for the play, I focused on Watts’ island/fortress. The rotating stoop was topped with Watts’ bed which were propped up with stacks of books. The back room became a control center for Watts’ attempts to find Mehserle, haunted by the memory of Grant’s murder and making formal reference to Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, lit by dozens of tiny lights. 

Photos by Joan Osato and Eli Jacobs-Fantouzzi

 The stoop. At the top of the stoop is the main character's bed, propped up on BART windows and books. The backdrop is created from sewn bedsheets.

The stoop. At the top of the stoop is the main character's bed, propped up on BART windows and books. The backdrop is created from sewn bedsheets.

 Photo by Joan Osato

Photo by Joan Osato

 Photo by Joan Osato

Photo by Joan Osato

 Photo by Joan Osato

Photo by Joan Osato

 The back of the stoop, which functioned as a "command center" for the main character as he chased down Johannes Mehserle. The room incorporates an earlier painting and makes formal reference through the lighting system to Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. Photo by Joan Osato

The back of the stoop, which functioned as a "command center" for the main character as he chased down Johannes Mehserle. The room incorporates an earlier painting and makes formal reference through the lighting system to Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. Photo by Joan Osato

 Photo by Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi

Photo by Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi

 Audience members entered through a "tunnel" made of white yarn, signaling a break with the outside world and entering the mind of the main character.

Audience members entered through a "tunnel" made of white yarn, signaling a break with the outside world and entering the mind of the main character.

Chasing Mehserle, by Chinaka Hodge