The Brothers Size – Now at Luna Stage

Back: Brandon Carter, Front: L: Clinton Lowe, R: Shamsuddin Abdul-HamidPhoto Credit: Christopher Drukker

Back: Brandon Carter, Front: L: Clinton Lowe, R: Shamsuddin Abdul-HamidPhoto Credit: Christopher Drukker

By Sherri Rase

Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play “The Brothers Size” was written back in 2007 when McCraney was in his third year as a student at Yale School of Drama.  Though it was written nearly 10 years ago, it reverberates with that knell that resonates deep in the heart like the lowest thrumming notes of a pipe organ.  So many overtones to that note and so deep it is almost below the human capacity to hear.  But it is felt.

Combining Yoruba mythology for whom his characters named with an all too familiar urban tale, we have two sets of brothers.  Ogun (Brandon Carter) is the eldest brother Size who’s always felt the weight of providing for and protecting his family.  Their mother died when both boys were so very young and Oshoosi (Shamsuddin Abdul-Haid) ever since that time has always found himself on the wrong side of most situations.  When the action of the play begins, Oshoosi has just completed serving time in prison and it’s made him bone-deep exhausted and as enervated as it’s possible for a human to be.  Set in bayou country, it’s easy to image humidity so deep you can swim in it and Oshoosi feels every molecule of its weight.  Ogun does his best, but motivating Oshoosi is like herding cats.  Oshoosi’s not lazy, but his nightmares have him running full out in a way Ogun has yet to fully fathom.

Oshoosi’s other brother is one of circumstance, his buddy Elegba (Clinton Lowe) with whom he bonded in prison.  There’s a thrumming current between them and it’s only later that we see the web that Elegba has woven.  Elegba’s sinuous machinations and smooth ways of influencing Oshoosi could be based in his own psyche or possibly his knowledge of what motivates his young friend, the dreamer.  Elegba was Oshoosi’s “brother in need” during his time in prison when Oshoosi missed Ogun like an amputee misses a limb.  Until the end of the play, however, it’s not clear fully what that means.  Elegba has a level of influence parallel to Ogun’s but very different in affect.

Oshoosi’s special talent is seeing and believing the best in everyone, yet this is what leads him down the primrose path time and time again.  When Ogun makes the penultimate sacrifice for Oshoosi, there’s no doubt of this brother’s love.  The question is always what will we give so others may live.

Be sure to visit the Context Room, a very new feature of Luna Stage productions.  There, you’ll see historical context, how Christopher and Justin Swader’s spare and clever set and Daisy Long’s brilliant lighting design set the various scenes.  Isaac Mandel’s sound designs give greater depth to piece and Joya Powell’s choreography gives us a sense of the dance of everyone’s life – as we work with our partners to create what’s real for us.  Deborah Caney’s costumes were perfection, though throughout the evening, the hooded sleeveless sweatshirt Oshoosi wears kept bringing to mind Trayvon Martin, though that tragedy was five years in the future from when this play was written.

“The Brothers Size”, part two of McCraney’s trilogy The Brother/Sister plays,  only runs through March 6, 2016.  If you want to give someone an amazing experience, get your tickets now by visiting

Keeping Up Appearances

Remember the James-Lange theory in Psychology 101?  Encourage your body to “feel” something on the outside and ultimately it will penetrate within.

What is challenging you right now?  Are you overwhelmed with work?  Are you snowed in by family or volunteer obligations?  First things first – step back and give yourself a little room to breathe.  What would make you happy in terms of this challenge – what would be an appropriate resolution?  You solve problems this way for others, don’t you deserve the same care?

John Stuart Mill was a philosopher whose theory was the best course of action is that which provides the greatest good for all, rather than the individual.  Sometimes though, you need to take care of yourself first so that you can take care of others.  Remember to do the things that make you feel most like yourself – eat well, shower regularly, get enough sleep – as a post-Modern adult, I fall down on some of these (I DO love my hot showers…) but when I’m on top of them, my best foot is firmly forward.

Keep up appearances – not for others, but for yourself.  When you feel like YOU, you’re able to achieve more and be the best part of yourself.

Sherr’s Going-to-the-Theatre Tips

After a bit of a hiatus, I’m baaaack!  Check it out!

Sherr’s Going-to-the-Theatre tips: Do you want to feel tall and young? Go to the Theatre! Whether you’re into Classical (or contemporary Classical) music, live theatre like plays or musicals, you’ll find that it’s the opposite ends of the spectrum of experience who attend. That said, there are many who feel that the lines to get into the audience area do not apply to them. News bulletin: those lines DO apply to you!
-If an elder person in front of you drops a scarf, offer to help them retrieve it.
-Be aware of your surroundings – when you back up quickly, you could knock someone over
-When in queue for the rest room, be mindful and aware
-When washing up afterward, get your paper towels first – that’s usually the bottleneck in the queue to leave
-Wipe around the sink before you discard the paper towel – not everyone was raised as you (to clean up after themselves)
-Remember to hold the door (if needed) so others with clean hands don’t need to touch that (surely contaminated) handle
Most of all, unwrap the candies first, turn off your (bleepin’!) phone and enjoy the show!