by Gabby Lamm
Before this past Saturday, I had seen neither a Fountain Theatre production nor a Tarell Alvin McCraney play. I had no idea what to expect from The Brothers Size; I didn’t know the plot, the context, or the actors.
I was blown away.
If I had to describe The Fountain’s production of The Brothers Size in one word, that word would be “ingenious.” From the creative use of the actors’ bodies for music (either in song or in the form of stomp dance), to manipulating the set to create sounds and sights that suck in the audience, to the creative verbalization of stage directions as actual lines in the show, the performance captured and kept me engrossed from beginning to end, eager to discover what surprising choices would emerge.
The Brothers Size focuses (not surprisingly I suppose) on two brothers with the last name Size. Hard-working and stern Ogun (played by Gilbert Glenn Brown) provides a steady and stark contrast against his brother, the impressionable and aimless Oshoosi (Matthew Hancock). Having recently been released from prison, Oshoosi discovers that he is unable to invest himself in the auto-shop work pursued by his brother. It is therefore easy for the play’s third character, Elegba (Theo Perkins)—who had been in prison with Oshoosi—to influence Oshoosi in a direction that pulls him away from his brother, thus placing Elegba and Ogun in opposition to each other and creating a tension that permeates the play.
One aspect of the show I particularly appreciated was that, as an audience member, I was not allowed to “lose myself” in the show. With the help of the articulated stage directions, I was constantly reminded that I was watching a play, that I was witnessing a story unfold in front of me. This quality forced me to continue consciously thinking about the events that were unraveling and to constantly consider the relationships between the characters’ emotions and their actions. This isn’t to say that I was ever distracted; on the contrary, it was impossible for me to let my mind wander. From the moment the lights went up I felt personally invested in and enraptured by the story.
Perhaps the most incredible characteristic of this show is its universal appeal. The themes of sibling conflict, of influential friends, and of uncertain futures will speak to any audience member regardless of race, cultural background, age, sex, etc. Any viewer will walk out of this show having connected to the characters and having taken away a meaning of personal significance. I recommend this show, without reservation, not only as someone affiliated with The Fountain, but also as a lover of the dramatic arts and as fan of intimate theater in particular.
production photos by Ed Krieger
The Brothers Size Now to July 27 (323) 663-1525 MORE