REVIEW: Casting Hall presents “The Brother Size”

The three actors performed in the Flexible Theatre, which is a circular stage. They had to speak to all angles of their audiences.

Bruce Fox / Instructional Resources

The three actors performed in the Flexible Theatre, which is a circular stage. They had to speak to all angles of their audiences.

Lucy Lopez, Culture Editor

Three men, minimalistic sets, laugh out loud lines, and heavy topics, “The Brother Size” was a 90-minute roller coaster of relatable emotions.

“The Brother Size” is one of a trilogy playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney has written deriving inspiration from Yoruban culture. It’s important to know this as it’s outlined in the program’s dramaturgical note section.

The three main characters are namesakes of deities in Yoruban (West African) mythology. Ogun (Kwame Feaster) is the master of iron; Oshoosi (Shameed Wright) rules the forest as an archer longing to be free. And Elegba (Denzel Williams) is the one in the group with the most power, proving to be the trickster.

Each of their origins in mythology plays a huge part of their characterization throughout the course of the story. Especially Oshooshi’s desire to start fresh and be free.

“The Brother Size” takes place in the Louisiana Bayou, one of the locations with Yoruban culture attached to it.

Oshoosi and Elegba met in prison, their friendship flourished in this dark time for both of them, and Elegba stresses that their bond is one of brotherhood. Ogun, Oshooshi’s older brother owns a car shop and has a “tough love” way of showing him he cares.

Oshoosi starts working for his brother and as an audience member you see this glimmer of hope for him. He’s likeable. You really want to see him to turn his life around though he’s not as appreciative towards Ogun as you’d think. He is still yearning for complete freedom, and perhaps Ogun’s rough exterior and high demand for hard work isn’t exactly what Oshoosi had in mind.

But escaping his past is not that easy. In a nightmare, Elegba appears and says “prison makes even grown men afraid of the dark.” Ogun experiences a similar darkness, their family placing the blame on him for his brother’s mistakes. He too experiences a nightmare, feeling as though there is nothing he can do to prevent his brother from going down the wrong path with his bad seed friend, Elegba.

Soulful music is placed throughout the course of the story to act as a comedic and dance number, or to express a sense of escape, community, or loneliness.

Each scene was kept short which made the 90 minutes fly by. Having to hold the attention of an audience without an intermission with a cast of three, asides (there is no fourth wall in this play) and comedy mixed in the actors’ jobs imaginably enjoyable.

One of the only things you might get a little confused about is when you walk in, the actors are going to be shirtless, wearing linen pants, and it looks like they’re doing yoga. After the show was over I asked one of the actors, Kwame Feaster, who is a senior theater major, what exactly was going on.

“You’re seeing the ritual the actors go through about to perform the show,” he said.

McCraney is really speaking to the younger generation and you’ll be able to see that. You’ll walk away feeling as though these characters remind you of someone you know, maybe even your own brothers.

“The Brother Size” has shows through tonight, Feb. 12, Fri. Feb. 13 and Feb. 14 at and show on Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. Flexible Theatre, Donald Savage Theater and Communication Building. 

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