Teresa L. Williams, originally from New Orleans, is a set and production designer currently based in New York City. Blending her heritage and background in architecture with a passion for storytelling, she loves creating new worlds and experiences that envelop audiences. Her design process always starts with a question: How can the story-spectator relationship be amplified? Teresa thrives in collaborative environments, creating rich, honest work with deep roots. Her hope is to design work that will connect with others on an emotional level while simultaneously providing an outlet for enjoyment. When not working, you can find Teresa catching a musical or on the search for delicious southern cuisine.
Little Shop of Horrors
This production of Little Shop of Horrors follows the emergence of Audrey II onto Skid Row. However, the extraterrestrial being is not the only intruder. We watch as uptown customers flock to see the exotic plant. There is a drastic change as rental markets go from working class people to wealthy professionals. The result of such a radical change is a rent spike that many cannot meet, resulting in mass evictions and displaced residents. New Developments begin to destroy the low-rise neighborhood’s character and the small local businesses. Building a new community no longer meant for the current residents but to invite wealthier ones in. We watch as this neighborhood goes through the process of gentrification. That is the real horror that Seymour’s deal brings to the community, the same horror that can be found in many cities across America. This production shows the deconstruction of one neighborhood and then the emergence of another.
Music by: Alan Menken
Book and Lyrics by: Howard Ashman
Venue: The Danny Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College
Marys Seacole is a play about Mary Seacole, an ambitious Jamaican woman determined to live a grand life; her adventures take her across oceans and eras, from a battlefield of the Crimean War to a contemporary nursing home, and many times and places in between. Marys Seacole tells the story of what it means to be a caregiver, what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be black. This design focused on making sure that wherever Mary went, her history traveled with her.
The set does this by emphasizing the textures of Mary’s Jamaican roots. You see this in the floor treatment as well as the wood wall panels which were inspired by Mary’s original hotel. The set is able to act as an open container that can transform into every location along Mary’s journey, but still ground us with the reminder of where she is from.
As I read the text, I was drawn to the multiple versions of Mary we see within each character. The way their voices and stories became intertwined was an inspiration for the revolving doors panels. I interpreted act two as the floodgates of Mary’s mind all opening at once as she relives the experiences we just witnessed though the words of the other female characters; constantly revolving around her mind.
Written by: Jackie Sibblies Drury
Director: Machel Ross
Produced By: NYU Tisch Grad Acting/Design
Venue: The Shubert Theatre
Hester Street tells the story of Jewish immigrants who come to the Lower East Side of New York City in 1896 from Eastern Europe, and who live on Hester Street in Manhattan. When Jake first comes to the U.S., he quickly assimilates into American culture. His wife, Gitl, who arrives later with their son, Yossele, has difficulty assimilating. Tension arises in their marriage as Jake continually upbraids and abuses his wife. My Design follows the story of Gitl, a wife and mother who arrives at a new country with the expectation of starting a new life with her husband. After many attempts to please everyone but herself, she struggles to find the happiness she once imagined. Finally, she releases herself from toxic restraints and enters a new life within this new world with her own personal drive.
Production Design Class Project
Screenplay by: Joan Micklin Silver
Venue: Steiner Studios
Detroit ’67 tells the story of siblings Chelle and Lank against the backdrop of the race riots that shook Detroit, Michigan in the summer of 1967. They work together, scraping enough money to make ends meet by converting their family basement into a small private club. This space acts as a time capsule of their childhood. It has life, energy, and love. That is why it hurts when the outside world bleeds into it.
This production invites the audience into that basement; having the scenery surround all of the theatre walls you feel as if you are in the space with the story. You walk in to see children height marks written into the wall. You see a baseball bat and trophies from Lank’s childhood team. You already feel a connection to the characters from just looking at the details within the room. The audience is on this journey along with the characters for both the good and bad. That baseball bat which represented a child’s innocence becomes a weapon against the increasing riots. None can escape the heartache and violence.
Written by: Dominique Morisseau
Director: Brandon Dirden
Producer: NYU Tisch Grad Acting/Design
Venue: The Walker Theatre
We often live in a divided society where rifts can be based on politics, ethnicity, religion, or body shape. These divisions are created by those who see themselves as the standard and anyone who doesn’t reach it is beneath them. In this production of Drowning, we watch as Roe, Pea, and Stephan represent anyone who doesn’t fit the preserved ideal image of society for one reason or another. They have been set apart from the other guest of the café, to an excluded section of the exterior. As the silhouettes of the interior guest continue to live their fullest lives, we watch as Pea begins to question his own identity. He gets his first harsh lesson in how to see himself through others’ eyes. We watch him drown in grief that is always too often paired with life. There is the realization that the experience he is going through is something shared in common with the people inside the café. Even though separated, everyone inside and out of the café is connected.
Set Design class project