Tall Tales: Review, “Brothers Size,” Curious Theatre Company, Denver

Tall Tales: Review, “Brothers Size,” Curious Theatre Company, Denver

Buy tickets now for “The Brother’s Size.”

The play runs from July 11 to August 1, 2015

“The Brothers Size,” credit, Curious Theatre Company.

“The Brothers Size,” credit, Curious Theatre Company.

The Curious Theatre Company presented the first play in The Brother/Sister Play trilogy, by Tarell Alvin McCraney, earlier this year. “In the Red and Brown Water” brought a heady storytelling style that was gripping and visceral. If you saw it, I doubt you forgot it.

“The Brothers Size,” the second play in the trilogy, began its run last Saturday night (July 11) at Curious.  (I missed the first production at the same venue, when it was mounted as a stand-alone.)

“The Brothers Size” feasts on the same stew of rhythm, incantations, myth, legend, and archetypes all fused with gritty, spare reality. Rhythms of work and life are welded to beats of dance. Spoken word intertwines with song in a tight braid. Poetry pops up in the middle of a feisty rant.

“The Brothers Size” is riveting from fade in to fade out as Ogun Size (Cajardo Rameer Lindsey) heads into the mist. Even the quiet moments pack a punch.

At the end, following occasional bursts of boisterous laughter throughout the preceding 105 minutes, the two women next to me in the balcony were wiping away well-earned tears.

This is a stunning, stirring night of theater. “The Brothers Size” involves three men—the aforementioned Ogun Size, his younger brother Oshoosi Size (Laurence Curry), and Elegba (Damian Hoover).

Ogun’s world is hard work, commitment, and industriousness. He runs an auto-repair shop. He’s good at what he does, knows his stuff. Brother Oshoosi just got out of prison. He’s lazy and questions the value of doing anything. His immediate needs are a car and a girl. He’s eager to meet his needs and would like a short-cut to get there. Into the mix comes Elegba, Oshoosi’s prison mate.  He’s the agitator, a revenant. He’s here to make Oshoosi’s life easier—and Ogun’s world a whole lot harder.

But it’s hard to begin with.

The same moon from “In the Red and Brown Water” hangs over the set of “The Brothers Size” (at least, at times) but this moon glows above a world that bangs and clacks and pounds. It’s a world of hard knocks. The spare and evocative set by co-scenic designers Chip Walton and Shannon McKinney, serves multi-purposes all while broadcasting a message of prison and confinement. Parts of the Walton-McKinney set for “In The Brown and Red Water” was literal, part was not. This time around, it’s all representative.

McKinney handles the lighting, too, and there’s a sunrise scene of shadow and sidelight (near the end) that changes everything in front of us.

The most impactful mood-setting element, however, is delivered by the haunting, pulsing soundtrack of Jason Ducat. I could watch the whole play again for its own sake, but next time I would take better notes about the music. It’s perfect.

What sets “The Brothers Size” apart is what it asks of its actors—to create rhythms, dance, sing and, in Ogun’s case, to bellow and howl and grunt. “The Brothers Size” is a physical play. It’s muscles and movement. It’s rugged, a big clenched fist. My understanding is the script gives little in the way of guidance or prescription so hats off to director Dee Covington for her taut management of the flow.

As Ogun, Lindsey is a towering, dominant force as he shares his sweat, his down-deep soul and determination. As Oshoosi, Curry brings an entirely different presence than he brought to the role of John in the Civil War-era gem “The Whipping Man,” staged at Curious eighteen months ago. Curry’s loose body and free-flowing moves animate every line. Oshoosi is the motor, to borrow an auto-repair shop metaphor, and Curry burns high-octane.  As Elegba, Hoover is smooth, cool, wily and seductive. He’s an eerie ghost who counters Ogun’s every move, both the onstage confrontations and offstage maneuvering.

“The Brothers Size” is knock-out. I’m eagerly waiting for the third installment, “Marcus: Or The Secret of Sweet” in the fall. Based on the similarities between the first two chapters—as well as the sharp contrasts—I have no idea what to expect. That’s a good thing

Mark Stevens

Mark Stevens

Editor’s note: Telluride Inside… and Out’s monthly (more or less) column, Tall Tales, is so named because contributor Mark Stevens is one long drink of water. He is also long on talent. Mark was raised in Massachusetts. He’s been a Coloradoan since 1980. He’s worked as a print reporter, national news television producer, and school district communicator. Mark is the author of the Allison Coil Mystery Series—Antler Dust (2007), Buried by the Roan (2011), Trapline (2014) and Lake of Fire (due out in September, 2015). The series is set in the Flat Tops Wilderness in Western Colorado. Trapline won the 2015 Colorado Book Award for best mystery and the 2015 Colorado Author League award for best genre fiction. 

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.