The best thing about watching plays at The Guthrie Theater Studio is that they offer something new. Not that all the plays are brand new. I saw "Julius Caesar" there last year, but done in a contemporary way. Other shows have been quite new from lesser known, still alive, playwrights, that have more diversity. "The Brothers Size" by Tarell Alvin McCraney is a modern play about brothers who live in a community in Louisianna where life is a struggle. People don't have much, and what they have, they've had to fight to keep. This includes relationships.
Ogun Size, the older brother, has taken on the roles of caregiver, substitute parent, role-model, and self-appointed parole officer to his younger brother Oshoosi who just got out of prison. Ogun wants his younger brother to have a good and prosperous life and takes on the responsibility of making that happen to the point of smothering his brother.
Oshoosi Size is trying to figure out who he is, what he can do, and what he really wants now that he's free from the physical prison he was in. He is still bound, though, by the ties of relationship with his brother and the friend he met in prison, Elegba.
This is an intense show with intense language. We're watching brothers interact in the privacy of their own home, with the intrusion of a "friend." There are real life consquences to their words and actions. This is a show for older teens and adults. It's a show for anyone who struggles with relationships and which ones imprison us and which ones set us free.
The actors who portray these men are phenomenal. I believed in their characters from the start. I could sense the struggle to define their relationships, to determine what bound them and what set them free. This is another play where I wished I could read the script. I wondered how much of the actions and reactions were from the playwright, the director, or interpreted by the actors themselves. Throughout this performance, a drummer sits on stage, pounding out the rhythms of life. The entire show seemed expertly choreographed from stage actions to a stomp dance.
The Brothers Size written by Tarell Alvin McCraney and directed by Marion McClinton is a Pillsbury House Theatre production, performed at the Guthrie Theatre Studio. It runs through September 29. It's a show you won't soon forget.
The Pillsbury House Theater has more information, including a video clip from rehearsals, http://pillsburyhouseandtheatre.org/
You can get showtimes and tickets at, http://www.guthrietheater.org/plays_events/plays/_brothers_size
To read more about the performance and other reactions, go to my writer's blog, www.maryaalgaard.blogspot.com.
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