Article Title:Review: The Brothers Size
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:2nd June 2011 - 02:48 pm
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Story ID:10438
Text:Te Kohe Tuhaka and Pua Magasiva (picture - Andrew Malmo) Walking out of Silo's The Brothers Size you are left in no doubt as to why its writer Tarell Alvin McCraney has created a wave of hype. The young, gay African American who erupted from the harsh reality of projects in a fairytale like manner of his own, can sure pen a story. Part fable, mostly real life grit, McCraney's world swaggers into Auckland's Herald Theatre in the form of two Louisiana brothers, who are on the surface just trying to get by, in a society that wants to keep them down. But it's not that simple. The textures and layers these men have are immeasurable. Younger brother Oshoosi Size isn't just a troublemaking little shit with a big ego who has just been released from prison. He is so very much more complex than that. A world away from the dork he plays in the Lift Plus ads, Pua Magasiva's red-rare depiction of this younger brother is utterly powerful. There is not an emotion Director Shane Bosher has not coaxed out of him, from cocksure swagger, to terror, to overwhelming joy and snot-ridden heartbreak; Magasiva lets it all fall on the floor. With the calm and cool Jarod Rawiri as his tough older brother and Te Kohe Tuhaka as the charming and mysterious Elegba (a man who was much more than just friends with Oshoosi in jail) the trio make the feeling in the play seem as real and fresh as an acting workshop on finding your emotions. These actors have no place to hide on the Herald Theatre's stage, which is set with nothing but a grease-stained concrete block, a bucket of water and a pair of beat-up Chucks strung over a wire. The lighting is a simple wide circle, brought down in moments to just spotlights or utter darkness. With the complementary music arranged by the astute Tama Waipara, which mixes dark rap and hip hop anthems with soul classics and traditional drums and strings, the audience cannot help but be cast into the Louisiana projects, left seeing so much more than what is physically onstage. The bare set which leads to the actors being the sole focus makes the piece more powerful than the most elaborate props ever could. And this is a piece of writing made only for the theatre, as stage directions are used as dialogue, tricking the viewer's mind time and time again. McCraney is a writer with the power to surprise in the most subtle manner. Just when you think you have his characters all figured out and you are gently turned head over feet into a whole new realm. The Brothers Size is as dark and as gritty as it is beautiful, worth seeing just for its layers alone; imperative to see, for the way the actors painstakingly peel them back. The Brothers Size is playing at Auckland's Herald Theatre until 18 June. Ticket details are here Jacqui Stanford - 2nd June 2011    
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