Tag Archives: In The Red and Brown Water

These three Fountain actresses, now TV stars, stay close since forming bonds on stage

Psychologist Carl Jung introduced the word “synchronicity”,  coining it to describe a “meaningful coincidence,” when unrelated events seem to happen for a reason.  Synchronicity is something you feel. When, for no outward reason, the stars align and the right people come together at the right time and the result is something meaningful and long lasting. 

Synchronicity is what occurred with the cast of the 2012 Fountain Theatre LA premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney‘s In the Red and Brown Water.  Magic happened not only on stage. Friendships were formed seven years ago that remain strong to this day. And three actresses from that cast — Simone Missick, Maya Lynne Robinson and Diarra Kilpatrick — are now enjoying a blossoming of their TV careers at the same time. Coincidence? We don’t think so.

Simone Missick, last seen at the Fountain in Citizen: An American Lyric, co-starred on the Netflix TV series Luke Cage as Misty Knight. She just signed the lead role in the new CBS legal drama pilot Courthouse.  

Diarra Kilpatrick is the creator and star of American Koko, an ABC digital original series, earning her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy/Drama Series, Short Form. She created, wrote, and starred in the comedy pilot The Climb for Amazon, and is set to star in a new comedy for Showtime opposite Keenen Ivory Wayans.  

Maya Lynne Robinson, recently on stage at the Fountain in Runaway Home, is now a series regular on ABC’s Roseanne spinoff  The Connors, playing the role of Geena Williams-Conner.  

We asked these three dynamic actresses to share their thoughts on In the Red and Brown Water, and how theatre can form bonds that last a lifetime.

The race

In the Red and Brown Water, Fountain Theatre, 2012.

What was it about In The Red and Brown Water that created such close ties? 

MLR: For me, it stemmed from the fact that I was 3 months new in town and didn’t have a foundation/tribe yet. In the Red and Brown Water was the first project I was cast in once I moved to LA. I met these wonderfully creative and down-to-earth people and when you find those type of people, you shouldn’t let them go.

SM: I think what started at the table, with our director, Shirley Jo Finney, had a huge impact in creating a family amongst the cast and crew. To be able to discuss the play, the characters, inside and out and know that you were working with artists who took the work as seriously as you, made us all feel like we were experiencing something different and special. We knew we could trust one another onstage, and that trust helped us to build bonds as artists and as friends. But there is also a level of divine placement when it came to that production. Each of us were appointed to be there for those six plus months, for only God knows the reason, and to then be a part of each others lives. We’ve been there for each other through marriages, babies, cross country moves, and amazing work opportunities.  It is just one of those special blessings, that so many of us gelled, and we found sisters and brothers, aunties and cousins in one another.

DK: I do believe [director] Shirley Jo Finney brought together a great group of not only artists but people. It was a joy playing with them and I’m grateful that we’ve s formed such loving, supportive bonds. We made a family and even though that’s common in the theater, this is a particularly special group of artists.   Every one of us has continued to grow as artists and as people, I mean to the person. And I’m so, so proud of us.

What’s your favorite memory from that production?

MLR: Singing warm ups and prayer together before the show.  There was something about our vibration that made me happy to do the show with these people every day for almost six months.

SM: There are sooooo many. Some of them stay in the vault. But one of them is Maya Lynne stomping her feet to get some of our other (not as rhythmically gifted brothers) on beat. She earned a nickname from that. 

RED BROWN gals

Maya Lynne Robinson, Diarra Kilpatrick, Simone Missick, Iona Morris, 2018.

With whom from the cast have you most stayed in touch?

SM: All of us are on a text message chain that we connect through. This past Valentine’s Day, we all sent silly pictures to say we loved each other.  I had the fortune to work with Shirley Jo four more times after that production, and she is such a special influence in my career and in my life. Our stage manager, Shawna and I have worked together again. I love that girl. Diarra and Maya Lynne are people that I talk to more often. We are all around the same age, experiencing some of the same career “firsts”, and we are always shooting each other a text of congratulations and cheering one another on. But the Red Brown family got together for a Christmas brunch, and FaceTimed with Stephen Marshall who moved to NY, so he wouldn’t be left out. We just love each other!

MLR: Whether we speak daily or once a year, we all pick up right where we left off. We have text message chains during holidays and big events. We try to have a reunion whenever possible. Half of us got together for a reunion earlier this year.

What is it about theatre — and the Fountain Theatre in particular — that creates a feeling of family? 

MLR: There is a sense of family at the Fountain Theatre. From the exterior and interior style all the way to the intimacy of the spaces, the Fountain Theatre fosters closeness, authenticity and talent. 

SM: Live theatre is an experience like no other. It is the artist’s equivalent to trapeze work, but the net is your fellow cast members. You are sailing through the air, with the audience there witnessing you doing emotional gymnastics, and every moment is alive and terrifying and electrifying. The intimacy of the Fountain leaves no room for hiding. You have to be vulnerable and authentic at every turn. That experience is one that creates a bond with your acting partners, because you are all there being honest and alive together. 

DK: In The Red and Brown Water was a beautiful experience. I remember being in church and was particularly prayerful about opening myself up to new opportunities and challenges and ways to express myself.  After service, Erinn Anova came up to me and said she was helping to cast a play at the Fountain and wanted to make sure she brought me in for it. She had seen me in something else and thought I’d be right for the lead. I so badly had wanted to work at The Fountain and with Shirley Jo. So, every step of the Red/Brown journey felt as synchronistic as that. Like it was meant to be. Like magic.

SM: I’ve managed to keep my Red Brown family close through it all. It truly was an experience of a lifetime that I will always cherish.

‘Luke Cage’ co-star Simone Missick asks you to support the Fountain Theatre

misty-knight-simone-missickFountain actress Simone Missick currently co-stars on the Netflix hit series Luke Cage. She has appeared on our Fountain stage in our acclaimed Los Angeles Premiere of Tarell McCraney’s In the Red and Brown Water, and our award-winning stage adaptation of Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.

The Fountain Theatre is Simone’s theatre home in Los Angeles. Like any home, the Fountain needs care and upkeep and investment to maintain its value and longevity.

“I have been allowed to grow and change and I’ve been nurtured in ways I could only have dreamed of by my Fountain Family,” says Simone.

The Fountain Theatre is a dream worth supporting. A dream worth fighting for. Don’t you agree? Give now

How Can I Help Keep the Fountain Dream Alive? 

Fountain actresses are now conquering television and breaking barriers

fountain-actresses

Simone Missick, Taraji P. Henson, and Tina Lifford

They are, first and foremost, talented actresses now starring in some of the most popular shows on television. They are strong women conquering an industry dominated by men. They are women of color leading a new wave of diversity now finally being demonstrated on TV screens. And they are all members of the Fountain Family, seen in acclaimed productions on our intimate Fountain stage   

Simone Missick is now taking TV by storm co-starring as Misty Knight on the new Netflix series Marvel’s Luke Cage. She plays the first black female superhero in the history of television. The new series is now being seen in 180 countries.  There is already talk of giving Simone her own series in a Misty Knight spinoff. 

luke-cage-wp

Simone Missick as Misty Knight in ‘Marvel’s Luke Cage’

Simone’s launch to TV stardom is the stuff of local LA theatre legend. She was catapulted from acting in a play at the intimate Fountain Theatre to co-starring in a new popular television series as an iconic Marvel superhero. It’s the kind of plucking from obscurity to stardom of which most actors dream. 

CITIZEN Fountain Theatre feel most colored

Simone Missick in ‘Citizen: An American Lyric’ at the Fountain Theatre

Simone got the call to audition for the series while appearing on stage at the Fountain Theatre in our 2015 hit production of Citizen: An American Lyric. Shuttling back and forth between auditioning for the TV role and performing weekends at the Fountain, she knew it was a longshot. Suffering from a head cold, she flew to New York one final time to audition and test for the part. Sworn to secrecy by TV producers, Simone couldn’t share details with her Fountain cast about the role she was up for. But we knew it was big and important. We all waited. 

Then she got word.    

“I got a call from Jeph Loeb who was the head of Marvel. He kind of just said, ‘Prepare for your life to change,’” says Simone. “And what does that even mean for an actor who’s been working, doing theatre and short films in LA for 10 years? You can just never anticipate when that call is going to come, what it will really be. It was amazing.”

tina-lifford

Tina Lifford

Tina Lifford was also on stage at the Fountain with Simone in the same production of Citizen: An American Lyric. She now co-stars as Violet Bordelon, an aunt to the three estranged Bordelon siblings on OWN’s acclaimed drama Queen Sugar. The new series was  created, directed and executive produced by Ava DuVernay. Oprah Winfrey also serves as executive producer.  

Queen Sugar is groundbreaking. It is produced by a black-owned network and overseen by two black women—one who owns the network (Winfrey) and the other (DuVernay) as showrunner, head writer and director. All of the directors guiding every episode in season one have been women.  

“It’s exciting that we get to represent the excellence that is living in people of color,” says Tina. “The excellence that hasn’t necessarily had a platform before, which is why Ava is championing the whole inclusive movement. She is saying, there’s all of these stories and talents in every face of talent-making to tell those stories, and we’re going to show you who they are. That’s exciting.”

queen-sugar

Taraji P. Henson was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. She now stars as Cookie Lyon on the smash hit Fox series Empire, for which she won a Golden Globe Award and has twice been nominated for an Emmy. In 2016, Time magazine named Henson one of the 100 most influential people in the world on the annual Time 100 list.

taraji-empire

Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon on ‘Empire’

Taraji appeared in our Fountain west coast premiere of The Darker Face of the Earth by Rita Dove. She has maintained her connection with the Fountain Family, seeing Fountain productions and visiting with our casts and companies after performances. 

taraji-et-cast2

Taraji P. Henson and the cast of ‘The Ballad of Emmett Till’

The Los Angeles Times has dubbed Diarra Kilpatrick as “a force of nature”. She is not only a dynamic actress. She is a gifted writer and ambitious creator. Her American Koko digital series, originally produced for her YouTube channel, received the Best Web Series Award at the American Black Film Festival and was lauded as a “Web Series You Should Be Watching” by Essence Magazine. ABC’s streaming service ABCd has now acquired American Koko, with Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Viola Davis producing.

“Diarra is an exceptional talent in that she cannot be put in a category,” says Davis. “She has a unique voice that transcends her generation.”

The Race

Diarra Kilpatrick “In the Red and Brown Water”

Diarra starred in the Fountain Theatre’s acclaimed and award-winning Los Angeles Premiere of Tarell McCraney’s In the Red and Brown Water. Diarra played Oya, a lightning-fast runner, in the stunning and lyrical drama. Since that dazzling production, Diarra has been sprinting ever since.  She is now also developing The Climb for Amazon. She will write and star in the project.   

deidrie-game-of-silence

Deidrie Henry on ‘Game of Silence’

The list of Fountain actresses goes on. Deidrie Henry has mesmerized audiences in such Fountain productions as Yellowman and Coming Home. She co-starred as Detective Liz Winters on the NBC TV series Game of Silence and is the national TV commercial character Annie for Popeyes.  Monnae Michaell (Citizen: An American Lyric) plays Nina on the new TV series The Good Place. Tonya Pinkins (And Her Hair Went With Her) is Ethel Peabody on the television show Gotham. Tinashe Kajese will be seen in the upcoming TV movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Fountain veterans Tracie Thoms, Karen Malina White, Juanita Jennings, Adenrele Ojo are seen often on TV. 

“I’m always thrilled to see one of our actors, any actor, male or female, succeed in the film and TV industry,” says Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs. “But to see these extraordinary women achieve these accomplishments and create change, knowing that they come from our Fountain Family, makes me even more delighted and proud.” 

Gilbert Glenn Brown paints a picture in new Athol Fugard play at the Fountain Theatre

Gilbert Glenn Brown and Suanne Spoke in 'The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek'

Gilbert Glenn Brown and Suanne Spoke in ‘The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek’

by Darlene Donloe

The name Gilbert Glenn Brown has become synonymous with “good works” around the L.A. theater world.

A handsome gent with a bright, poetic smile, Brown enjoys a career that has spanned film, television and theater. His theatrical credits are extensive, and the list of directors and actors that he’s shared a stage with reads like a Who’s Who of Los Angeles theater.

On this particular day, as the sun is setting after an extremely warm afternoon, Brown is sitting on the upstairs patio of the Fountain Theater, dapper in a gray cap, blue-and-white rolled up checkered shirt and gray vest. He’s ready to talk about the actor’s life that he’s carved out.

Known for bringing all of himself—and none of himself—to his roles, Brown has delivered a number of stellar performances, playing vivid and memorable characters that have earned him the COLSAC Best Lead Performance Award, two Los Angeles Drama Critics Awards and an LA Weekly Award.

He made women swoon and men suck in their guts delivering an arousing performance as Shango, the neighborhood bad boy in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s original comedy/drama, In The Red and Brown Water, directed by Shirley Jo Finney. He was the intense and absorbing older brother Ogun Size in McCraney’s The Brothers Size, also directed by Finney. Most recently, he was probably the most sensually-charged Polyneices ever to grace a stage in the Ebony Repertory Theatre’s The Gospel At Colonus.

Now the Brooklyn native is set to play Jonathan in the West Coast premiere of Athol Fugard’s latest play, The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek, a drama directed by Simon Levy, now playing at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood.

Gilbert Glenn Brown and Suanne Spoke

Gilbert Glenn Brown and Suanne Spoke

This production marks the Fountain Theatre’s 15-year relationship with the playwright that began in 2000 when Fountain Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs directed Fugard’s The Road to Mecca. It was then that Fugard, an Academy Award winner for Tsotsi (Best Foreign Language Film), recipient of the 2011 Tony for lifetime achievement—and a multiple Obie and Tony Award-winner best known for his plays rooted in the scars of South African apartheid—reportedly began to call the Fountain his “artistic home on the West Coast.”

The Play

Inspired by the work of real-life outsider artist Nukain Mabuza, The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek is set in South Africa in the 1980s. It tells the story of elderly Nukain, a farm worker and self-taught artist who has spent years painting the rocks and boulders at Revolver Creek, transforming them into a garden of flowers.

The play, which also stars Thomas Silcott, Philip Solomon and Suanne Spoke, begins when the final, most challenging unpainted stone and a young boy named Bokkie (Nukain’s assistant) “force Nukain to confront his legacy as both an artist and a black man in 1980s South Africa,” where the horrible injustices of apartheid still prevailed at the time—dividing the country into black and white.

The minute he read the script, Brown jumped at the chance to play Jonathan, the grown-up version of Bokkie, who returns to Revolver Creek to restore the faded rocks as a tribute to Nukain, the friend he loved.

“What I like about Jonathan is the need he feels to come back and stand up for someone he loves,” says Brown. “He comes back to stand up for someone who wasn’t able to stand up and say I’m a man, or say that he mattered.”

Although he’s a “huge fan” of the playwright, this is the first time that Brown has tackled an Athol Fugard play. “I am familiar with his activism,” Brown says, “and using theater as a means of activism. I was groomed, in a sense, to look at issues head on. It’s about telling the truth with the material. I read the play and I was blown away by it because of the honesty of the material.”

“What’s wonderful about Gilbert,” says Simon Levy, who is directing the show, “is that he’s this beautiful combination of sensitivity and danger,” says Levy. “He possesses a deep well of emotion that reveals itself in surprising ways so that the character always feels kinetic and honest.”

“I think I understand where Simon wants to go with this piece,” Brown says. “He’s very clear on making sure that the audience can connect with the story and with the living, breathing human beings—not in a superficial way. It’s a wonderfully written piece.”

Brown is working with a dialect coach to get Jonathan’s South African accent right. “I want to honor the person I’m portraying [and] the people who actually speak that language…and be so connected, that I don’t think it’s an accent, it’s just how I speak.”

Now that Brown has had several weeks to ingest the material, he’s gained more insight into the meaning and intent of Fugard’s words. Comments from a documentary on apartheid that Brown watched as research added to his understanding:

“An activist said apartheid not only jails the people that are oppressed,” Brown recalls, “but also the jailers because they are caught in a cycle. You become dehumanized when you think someone is not as much as you are. Until you can say this happened, and acknowledge that it happened, there will be no movement. The people affected are not going to let it go. I realize now that it’s an opportunity to see each other as human beings.

“That is what the play means to me,” Brown says. “I’m always looking for truth.”  Continue reading

Acclaimed LA Premiere of ‘The Brothers Size’ Extends at Fountain Theatre

Gilbert Glenn brown  and Matthew Hancock (photo by Ed Krieger)

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 BrownMatthew Hancock andTheodore PerkinsThe 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.comChoir Boy runs Sept 16 – Oct 26 at the Geffen Playhouse: www.geffenplayhouse.com

Fountain Spotlight: Actors Gilbert Glenn Brown and Theodore Perkins from ‘The Brothers Size’

Gilbert Glenn Brown and Theodore Perkins

Gilbert Glenn Brown and Theodore Perkins

“I look for inspiration everywhere and in everything.”

by Gabby Lamm

Gilbert Glenn Brown and Theodore Perkins co-star with Matthew Hancock in The Fountain Theatre’s Los Angeles Premiere of The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Gilbert and Theo both appeared in The Fountain’s In the Red and Brown Water and Gilbert was also seen in Live From Death Row: The Scottsboro Boys.

GABBY LAMM: Where are you from? How did you end up in Los Angeles?

THEO PERKINS: I was born and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey. After I completed my bachelors at Morehouse College in Atlanta, I entered the MFA Acting program at UCLA.

GILBERT GLENN BROWN: Originally from New York City, born in Brooklyn, grew up in Queens and the Bronx.

GABBY: At what point did you realize you wanted to be an actor? 

GILBERT: I’ve always been a creative person, from drawing my own comic books, writing stories and scripts, but the real bug came, while I was in high school, one of my teachers saw something in me and challenged me to explore it.  Then almost as if by design, a youth theatre company called PYT (Positive Youth Troupe) from the Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center in the Bronx, performed at my school. The musical performance used the voice of the youth to uplift and empower and I thought to myself “Wow. Yeah, I can do that.”

THEO: I actually knew at an early age. I was in the 5th grade when my school choir got the chance to audition for a Broadway musical. At that point, I had no acting experience. A bunch of us got cast and I had no idea what I was in for. It didn’t hit me until our first preview performance. But I knew that feeling was something I would never let go.

Theodore Perkins

Theodore Perkins

GABBY: Who inspires you? 

THEO: Just about anyone who can tell a good story.

GILBERT: Honestly, I look for inspiration everywhere and in everything. I’m bit of a history person, I know that stand on the shoulders of so many that have paved the way I look to and honor them.  I also look at my parents, coming to the States from Jamaica with little or nothing and building a base here.

GABBY: If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be and why? 

THEO: Basquiat. I’d love to compare ideas on art and survival.

GABBY: You have worked in many different types of media, including television, film, and theatre. Do you have a preference? 

GILBERT: No not particularly, I’m an artist having the ability to create to share what I do with world and utilizing the transformative power of each of these arenas is very important to me.

THEO: I do not have a preference. I enjoy the process of discovery and collaboration that comes with opening a play. I get that in film as well. Not so much when doing a guest role on TV.

GABBY: How does working at The Fountain compare to working at other theatres? 

GILBERT: At The Fountain there is a community, a family aspect, that is truly beautiful. You see the artistic director, you know the producer, you are connected to the entire team and they all have a major interest and investment in you as the artist beyond the project of the moment, which is quite unique. The fact that they choose take on challenging pieces, not shying away from the controversial or taboo topics, giving voice to new and at times unheard voices.

THEO: There’s an atmosphere of “family” at the Fountain. On top of that, at the Fountain, I feel extremely safe as an actor. Safe to take risks, safe to trust that the risks I take are in good hands …. safe. And they have the dopest balcony, where I spend most of my time pre-show.

GABBY: The Brothers Size and In The Red and Brown Water are two shows from The Brother/Sister Plays trilogy by Tarell Alvin McCraney. How was your experience different in each show? 

THEO: The cast of Red/Brown was much larger. We really were a community. In Brothers Size, it’s just the three of us. The dynamics shift and we become our own community.

GILBERT:  The work was no less challenging but in ITRABW you had the benefit of 9 other cast/community members to work with. In this it’s just 3 of us and the audience. With ITRABW we have more time to delve into the water and explore a bit more, in TBS you just have to buckle up and hang on for the ride! They exist in the same location, but clearly 2 different worlds.

GABBY: Theo, you play the same character in The Brothers Size as you did in In The Red and Brown Water. What was it like playing the same character for two separate shows? 

THEO: Somewhat challenging. In Red/Brown, we see Elegba as child through adolescence. In Brothers Size, Elegba is an adult. The wants, tactics, obstacles have all matured. It was cool having a prior understanding of Elegba as “deity.” That helped a lot in this process. But the challenge came in having to grow the character “up.” Discovering the new body and mind. It’s hard to let go of physical and mental traits of a character after a process like Red/Brown. But McCraney does a great job in laying down new circumstances that makes the bridge easy to connect.

GABBY: And Gilbert, you play different characters in The Brothers Size and In The Red and Brown Water. What was it like exploring a new character in the series? 

Gilbert Glenn Brown

Gilbert Glenn Brown

GILBERT: It was schizophrenic!! Here I am having played both my friend and adversary. I went in with the intention to make Ogun honest and real and completely different from Shango [Brown’s character in In the Red and Brown Water], yet honor the history. Yes they were friends then “frenemies,” and they were different men, different energies, different temperaments, different orishas yet connected. I’ll admit there were moments in the rehearsal process where I as Ogun would be talking about myself as Shango and would almost have an overload! I am so thankful for Shirley Jo, seeing this and addressing it early on. It was great challenge and wonderful opportunity that few performers get to experience and I love it! It truly challenged me in ways unexpected but thoroughly and humbly, appreciated. As an artist that’s what you want. Raise the bar. Challenge.  I stand transformed.

GABBY: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is one thing you’d like to have with you? 

GILBERT: Hmmmm, I guess it would have to be pen/pencil and paper, lil bit of a survivalist, I’m sure I can live off the land. But being able to document and create is so necessary.

GABBY: If you were a superhero, what superpower would you like to have? 

GILBERT: Wow. I guess it would be to fly.

GABBY: If you could shoot anything out of your belly button, what would it be and why? 

 THEO: Assorted alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. I would be the life of ANY party!

GABBY: Anything else you’d like to say to the wonderful readers of The Fountain blog?

GILBERT: Thank you for supporting theatre and please come out and experience our show and all upcoming productions at the fearless Fountain Theatre. You will be transformed.

The Brothers Size Now to July 27th (323) 663-1525  MORE

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: College Students Meet Cast and Director of ‘The Brothers Size’ at the Fountain

1College students from UC Santa Barbara enjoyed our Sunday matinee preview of The Brothers Size and engaged in a fascinating Q&A Talkback with the cast and director after the performance. The students were particularly eager to see our production because they had been reading and studying the play in class. 

The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney is a hot-blooded, music-filled drama from one of the country’s most exciting new voices. After a homecoming in the bayous of Louisiana, the Size brothers, Ogun and Oshoosi, try to start fresh. This haunting, funny, and heartbreaking tour de force probes sexuality, coming of age, and the bonds of family as the brothers struggle to discover identity and to unearth a new sense of freedom.
 
Directed by Shirley Jo Finney, the Los Angeles Premiere at the Fountain Theatre stars Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock  and Theo Perkins. It opens Saturday, June 7th. For more info and tickets click here

Enjoy These Snapshots from the Q&A Discussion

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SLIDESHOW: Rehearsal Photos from LA Premiere of ‘The Brothers Size’ at the Fountain Theatre

'The Brothers Size' in rehearsal at the Fountain

‘The Brothers Size’ in rehearsal at the Fountain

Rehearsals are underway and going well at the Fountain for our upcoming Los Angeles Premiere of ‘The Brothers Size’ by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Shirley Jo Finney, director of the Fountain Theatre’s multiple award-winning production of In the Red and Brown Water in 2012, returns to direct the second play in McCraney’s “Brother/Sister Plays” trilogy. The Los Angeles premiere of The Brothers Size opens June 7 at the Fountain for a limited engagement that must close July 27.

Set on the back-roads of the Louisiana bayou, The Brothers Size follows the path of the recently paroled Oshoosi Size (Matthew Hancock) as he seeks to jumpstart his life. Working in an auto repair shop for his brother Ogun (Gilbert Glenn Brown), however, was not what he had in mind. When his old friend Elegba (Theo Perkins) rolls up, offering a different direction, Oshoosi quickly finds himself torn between his brother, his loyalties and his dreams. It’s an exuberantly theatrical drama that weaves together the pulsing rhythms of the bayou with African Yoruba mythology to create a stylized story of love and heartache. While part two of McCraney’s trilogy stands alone – you don’t need any knowledge of the first (In the Red and Brown Water) or third (Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet) to enjoy The Brothers Size – the three plays exist in the same world. Set in the fictional Louisiana bayou town of San Pere, in what McCraney calls “the distant present,” they share themes, characters and similar theatrical conventions. Dreams seep into waking life.

Enjoy These Rehearsal Photos

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Award-Winning Tarell Alvin McCraney Tale Continues with LA Premiere of ‘The Brothers Size’ at the Fountain Theatre

 

Matthew Hancock, Theodore Perkins and Gilbert Glenn Brown (photo by Ed Kreigwr)

Matthew Hancock, Theodore Perkins and Gilbert Glenn Brown (photo by Ed Krieger)

Shirley Jo Finney, director of the Fountain Theatre’s multiple award-winning production of In the Red and Brown Water in 2012, returns to direct the second play in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Brother/Sister Plays” trilogy. The Los Angeles premiere of The Brothers Size opens June 7 at the Fountain for a limited engagement that must close July 27.

Set on the back-roads of the Louisiana bayou, The Brothers Size follows the path of the recently paroled Oshoosi Size (Matthew Hancock) as he seeks to jumpstart his life. Working in an auto repair shop for his brother Ogun (Gilbert Glenn Brown), however, was not what he had in mind. When his old friend Elegba (Theo Perkins) rolls up, offering a different direction, Oshoosi quickly finds himself torn between his brother, his loyalties and his dreams. It’s an exuberantly theatrical drama that weaves together the pulsing rhythms of the bayou with African Yoruba mythology to create a stylized story of love and heartache. While part two of McCraney’s trilogy stands alone – you don’t need any knowledge of the first (In the Red and Brown Water) or third (Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet) to enjoy The Brothers Size – the three plays exist in the same world. Set in the fictional Louisiana bayou town of San Pere, in what McCraney calls “the distant present,” they share themes, characters and similar theatrical conventions. Dreams seep into waking life.

“Whose dream is it?” asks Finney, who received Ovation and Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle directing awards for her work on In the Red and Brown Water. “The world of this play is set somewhere between waking and sleep and between the conscious and unconscious, in the blue-gray world where the spirit lies and heaven and earth intersect. It’s about transformation, sacrifice and brotherly love.”

“I began taking old stories from the canon of the Yoruba and splicing them, placing them down in a mythological housing project in the South,” said McCraney in an interview. “The ritual onstage is taking these very old stories, archetypes, myths, and even rumors, and playing them out with new voices, new bodies, set in new and present times.”

The character names in the “Brothers Size” invoke Yoruba “orishas,” or deities: Ogun is the god of iron-working, the patron deity of all those who use metal in their occupations. 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.

The Fountain’s highly lauded L.A. premiere of the trilogy’s opener, In the Red and Brown Water, was named “Best in Theater, 2012” by the Los Angeles Times, one of the “10 Most Memorable Theater Moments of 2012” by the LA Weekly and “best of Los Angeles Theater 2012” by Bitter Lemons, the website that aggregates Los Angeles theater reviews.

Director Shirley Jo Finney

Director Shirley Jo Finney

Shirley Jo Finney was honored for her directing work on In the Red and Brown Water with Ovation (her second) and LADCC awards. Her other Fountain credits include acclaimed productions of Heart Song, The Ballad of Emmett Till, Yellowman, Central Avenue and From the Mississippi Delta. In November, she directed Marcus Gardley’s the road weeps the well runs dry in a rolling world premiere at LATC. Her work has been seen at the McCarter Theater, Pasadena Playhouse, Goodman Theater, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Playhouse, L.A. Theatre Works, Crossroads Theater Company, Actors Theater of Louisville Humana Festival, Mark Taper Forum, American College Theatre Festival, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and at the State Theater in Pretoria, South Africa, where she helmed a critically acclaimed production of the South African opera, Winnie, based on the life of political icon Winnie Mandela. For television, she directed several episodes of Moesha, and she garnered the International Black Filmmakers ‘Best Director’ Award for her short film, Remember Me. She is the recipient of the African American Film Marketplace Award of Achievement for Outstanding Performance and Achievement and leader in Entertainment.

Gilbert Glenn Brown and Theodore Perkins both return to the Fountain, after appearing in the award-winning ‘In The Red and Brown Water’. Matthew Hancock was most recently seen in the Los Angeles Premiere of ‘the road weeps the well runs dry’ at LA Theatre Center, also directed by Finney.

 

SLIDESHOW: First Rehearsal for LA Premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s ‘The Brother’s Size’

Gilbert Glenn Brown and Matthew Hancock.

Actors Gilbert Glenn Brown and Matthew Hancock.

Our thrilling Los Angeles Premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney‘s The Brothers Size is now officially launched with rehearsals underway. The first table reading of this beautifully powerful play took place last week at the Fountain and everyone in the company — actors, designers and production team members — were blown away and deeply moved. It promises to be another unforgettable Fountain production, opening in June.

Award-winning director Shirley Jo Finney returns to direct The Brothers Size, the second play in McCraney’s Trilogy, following our acclaimed and award-winning In the Red and Brown WaterThe Brothers Size is a hot-blooded, music-filled drama from one of the country’s most exciting new voices. After a homecoming in the bayous of Louisiana, the Size brothers, Ogun and Oshoosi, try to start fresh. This haunting, funny, and heartbreaking tour de force probes sexuality, coming of age, and the bonds of family as the brothers struggle to discover identity and to unearth a new sense of freedom.
 
The Los Angeles Premiere at the Fountain theatre stars Gilbert Glenn Brown, Matthew Hancock  and Theo Perkins.

Enjoy These Snapshots from First Rehearsal 

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