But word of mouth was excellent, the production was sold out and the show now has another run. This time, the creative team is determined to control the visuals.
Press photographers are being barred from shooting sex, nudity or the scene in which Kaneisha wears slave garb. “We want to be extraordinarily careful about how we use the images of the play,” Mr. Nobile said. “In the current state of the world, it’s very easy for things to be pulled out of context.”
So there Ms. Kalukango was in that photo studio, perched on a stool, wearing an oversized dress shirt cinched by a vintage corset, and displaying the fleshy interior of a halved cantaloupe. Behind the camera: Deun Ivory, a photographer hired by the production who said, “My goal is to visually document all the things that make black women powerful and beautiful.”
The shirt, said the stylist Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, “speaks to the way that strength in black women is often mischaracterized as ‘masculinity,’” and the corset represents sexual freedom, but also bondage. The melon, a prop in the show, adds mystery.
“So much of our campaign is about generating curiosity,” said Steven Tartick, the executive creative director at the play’s marketing agency, RPM. “What we need people to do is to want to learn more.”
Ms. Kalukango got the role after her friend Teyonah Parris, who played Kaneisha downtown and weathered much of the animus, decided not to join the Broadway production. (Paul Alexander Nolan has remained in the cast as the character’s husband.)
Ms. Parris’s publicist, citing her filming schedule — she is starring in Jordan Peele’s “Candyman” — said she would not be available to speak for this story. But she has supported Ms. Kalukango, who said she decided to audition after being “shocked and excited” by the script, and after Ms. Parris “gave me the green light.”