Gilbert Glenn brown and Matthew Hancock (photo by Ed Krieger)
Critic’s Choice “Dazzling” Los Angeles Times
The Fountain Theatre has been granted the rights to extend its Los Angeles premiere production of The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney, initially announced as a limited engagement, through Sept. 14.
Directed by Shirley Jo Finneyand starring Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock andTheodore Perkins, The Brothers Size (like the other plays in McCraney’s “Brother/Sister Plays” trilogy) is an exuberantly theatrical drama that weaves together the pulsing rhythms of the Louisiana bayou with African Yoruba mythology to create a stylized story of love and heartache.
“The critical and audience reaction has been so strong, we eagerly wanted to get special permission to keep the production running,” says Fountain co-artistic director Stephen Sachs. “With the West Coast premiere of McCraney’s Choir Boy scheduled to begin previews at the Geffen Playhouse on Sept. 16, we hope to give Los Angeles audiences a little more time to savor this earlier play and this important young playwright’s truly unique voice.”
In The Brothers Size, recently paroled Oshoosi Size seeks to jumpstart his life, but working in an auto repair shop for his brother Ogun was not what he had in mind. When his old friend Elegba rolls up, offering a different direction, Oshoosi quickly finds himself torn between his brother, his loyalties and his dreams. The character names invoke Yoruba orishas, or deities: Ogun is the god of iron-working and. Oshoosi is the divine hunter associated with the human struggle for survival – cunning, intelligent and cautious. Elegba is the guardian of the crossroads of life, but is also well known for being the orisha of chaos and trickery who leads mortals into temptation.
In its “Critic’s Choice” review, the Los Angeles Times writes, “Shirley Jo Finney’s vibrant direction, the vivid choreography and songs, and the remarkable three-man cast make this intimate production richly theatrical.” The Hollywood Reporter raves, “Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney boasts a rare talent: an utterly distinctive voice. He sounds like no one else, his cadences hearty and beautiful. I am in love with his voice, and in all likelihood you will feel the same way.” The LA Weekly praises the “Gorgeous drift into song” and “intoxicating choreography,” concluding that “The muscular ensemble doesn’t let up for a moment. This is sure to be one of the season’s memorable productions.” And Eye Spy LA calls The Brothers Size “Impactful and stunning… one of those rare gems of contemporary playwriting that gives hope to the future of the craft… leaving one breathless and clamoring for more.”
Performances of The Brothers Size continue through Sept. 14 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. andSundays at 2 p.m. (dark Aug. 8-10 and Aug. 29-31) with additional Thursday performances at 8 p.m. during the month of July. Tickets are $34 (reserved seating); on Thursdays and Fridays only, students with ID are $25.The Fountain Theatre is located at 5060 Fountain Avenue (at Normandie) in Los Angeles. Secure, on-site parking is available for $5. The Fountain Theatre is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. For reservations and information, call 323-663-1525 or go to www.FountainTheatre.com. Choir Boy runs Sept 16 – Oct 26 at the Geffen Playhouse: www.geffenplayhouse.com
Playwright of Acclaimed 2012 Fountain Production Wins Windham Campbell Award
What’s it like getting a phone call telling you you’ve won $150,000? Ask playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, writer of In The Red And Brown Water produced last year by the Fountain Theatre.
Tarell joins two other two playwrights — Stephen Adly Guirgis and Naomi Wallace — and six fiction writers as inaugural recipients of the first-ever Donald Windham Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes, English-language awards that call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns.
“It is an extraordinary blessing to be named an inaugural recipient of the Windham Campbell Prize at Yale”, says Tarell. “An added honor to do so alongside such incredible artists whom I admire greatly.”
Prizewinners receive an unrestricted grant of $150,000.
When the phone rang last March at his hotel room in New York, McCraney was $175,000 in debt. He was casting for his new play Choir Boy for the Manhattan Theatre Club. It took him a while to fully understand the nature of the news. When the information of the award registered, McCraney put down the phone and cried.
The Windham Campbell Prize cites:
Tarell Alvin McCraney’s working class characters inhabit an extraordinary mythic universe, speaking a poetic language through which we grasp the spiritual stature of embattled people.
“In the Red and Brown Water”, Fountain Theatre (2012)
Playwrights never expect such financial rewards. They just hope their works are produced on stage somewhere. Their main goal is to make a living being a writer and most — even the names of playwrights we all know and admire — have to supplement their income by teaching or some other gig to pay the bills.
So, what’s Tarell going to do with the money?
“Who knows what I’ll do with it,” says McCraney, 32. “Hopefully l’ll just look at it in my checking account for about a few months before I decide to do anything with it.”
McCraney goes to Atlanta to see a production of Choir Boy at the Alliance Theatre, then off to London at the end of the month to start rehearsals for his adaptation of Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra which he is also directing. That production will also play Miami at the end of the year and begin performances at the Public Theater in New York in February.
The Fountain Theatre introduced Los Angeles audiences to McCraney’s work with the award-winning 2012 LA Premiere of In The Red And Brown Water. The Fountain is now in discussion about producing Choir Boy in our coming season.