A long, languorous note is drawn out slowly out on the violin, evoking stick-to-your-shirt hot days in Louisiana, the setting of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brother’s Size. Like a droning Southern Blues bass line this is a play underwritten in paradox; white and black, captivity and freedom, old and young.
We meet the three characters musically too – the whimpering of Oshoosi Size (Kramer), as he has a nightmare, mixes with the grunts of his brother Ogun Size (Walters), toiling in his car repair shop, and Oshoosi’s friend Elegba’s (Hardwick) sung lament; the three voices blending into a chord of soulful ambience.
Such was the finesse of this performance that the audience were made aware of a whole community outside the three protagonists; one of overbearing aunts and bad-breathed relatives. The dialect skills and physical energy were masterful throughout, from comic dialogue and quirky, spoken stage directions, to big Brechtian facial work.
A dark foreboding feeling that began as a low hum became a huge shout as the play culminated in a poignant outcome that made us, as one of Elegba’s lines captured, ‘think of our brothers, even if we didn’t have one’. The Brothers Size is vibrant, stunning production well worth the slim nine pound student price.
The production ran from 15th-26th March.