Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Brothers Size

photo: Michal Daniel

The breakout hit from the most recent Under The Radar festival, written by a twenty-seven year old playwright named Tarell McCraney, The Brothers Size is in many ways an impressive piece of theatre and a promising piece of writing. The dialogue is often highly lyrical, the presentation (in the manner of African storytelling) highly stylized. Yet I found the play unsatisfying: the story, loosely adapted from West African mythology according to press notes, is pedestrian and predictable and lacks, well, the size that we associate with myth. Until an especially vivid monologue in which one of the two brothers of the title recounts his despair in prison, I didn't feel the slightest emotional engagement with the material. The play also has its baddie making a dramatically unnecessary, unwanted (homo)sexual advance on one of the brothers: that made me cringe, and not in the "challenge my world" way.

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