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Seattle by David-Edward Hughes

The Brothers Size Galvanizes at
the Seattle Repertory Theatre

Also see David's reviews of The Drowsy Chaperone and Vanities

The Brothers Size
Warren Miller and Yaegel T. Welch
Make no mistake about it, if you are a fan of the August Wilson plays, all of which have been presented at Seattle Repertory Theatre, then acclaimed new generation dramatist Tarell McRaney's The Brothers Size is tailor made entertainment for you. For this scribe, Wilson's works remain a mixed bag and, though I admire McRaney's work, The Brothers Size (part of a trilogy of Brother/Sister Plays by the author) is also a not entirely satisfying experience, though to be sure, I grew more transfixed by it as the Rep's meticulously acted and directed production went along.

Orphaned brothers Ogun and Oshoosi Size live in the contemporary American South, where Ogun runs an auto shop, and Oshoosi is just out of prison, along with ex-cellmate Elegba. Despite the brothers' own differences, there is an immense love between them, as Ogun virtually raised younger brother Oshoosi. Elegba's feelings for Oshoosi also run deep, and he is a trouble magnet who involves the easily lead Oshoosi into a misadventure that opens a deep schism between the brothers, and forces major change in their lives. To tell more, when I feel you should see the play for yourselves, would be a massive spoiler.

Though some of the dialect and accents involved put me at a disadvantage initially, the performances by Yaegel T. Welch as Ogun (a particularly intense and impressive turn), Warner Miller as Oshoosi (dancing-eyed with a dazzling smile) and Eddie R. Brown III as the troublemaking Elegba, are raw, powerful and woundingly affecting. Director Juliette Carrillo creates an atmosphere of love, tension, violence, and even humor that is most impressive. Playwright McRaney won me over most in the act two scene where the brothers are reminiscing, laughing, and even singing together. That scene transcends race or life experience, and the interaction there between Welch and Miller is simply magical.

The main body of critics have gone crazy ladling out superlatives for this production, and though I can't be as unequivocal in my praise, I do concede it is a unique and moving, and definitely out of the ordinary production, well worthy of your consideration.

The Brothers Size runs through February 27 at Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St. at Seattle Center, For further information go to www.seattlerep.org.


Photo: Keri Kellerman

See the list of this season's theatre offerings in the Seattle area.



- David Edward Hughes



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