‘‘The Brother/Sister Plays” is three separate plays, staged in two repertory productions. The first, “In the Red and Brown Water,” is performed in one two-act play. The second, “The Bro-thers Size,” and third, “Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet,” are performed together with an intermission between them, and the pair are possibly the high point of Company One’s stellar bo- dy of work. It’s not essential to see the first to understand the rest, but it makes for a complete experience.
‘In the Red and Brown Water’ Playwright Tarell Alvin
McCraney uses most of the stage directions as script in “In the Red and Brown Water.” Unfortunately, director Megan Sandberg-Zakian never figures out how to best use this technique to enhance the storytelling so it can teeter on annoying.
But the raw, vulnerable performances are amazing.
Oya is a gifted runner whose talent is her ticket out of San Pere, La. Fate intervenes and the once shining star is relegated to an even more challenging life.
Miranda Craigwell delivers a stellar, emotionally-charged performance as Oya, using little more than her eyes to convey emoti-ons. But this heartbreak wouldn’t be possible without Chris Leon’s turn as womanizing Shango and Juanita Rodrigues’ humorous turn as Aunt Elegua.
‘The Brothers Size’
In “The Brothers Size,” director Summer Williams masterfully employs the use of stage directions as script to create one of the most powerful, spellbinding productions of the season.
Set 12 years after “In the Red …” “Size” is the tale of two brothers who’ve always had to fend for themselves. One is recently out of prison and reunites with a friend and former con. The trio become embroiled in a complex emotional battle.
Though the pain of their deep-seated hurt is palpable and their struggles to survive are gut-wrenching, the raucous humor and intermittent vulnerability provide a perfect balance to the compelling tale.
Johnnie McQuarlery, James Milord and Hampton Fluker deliver award-worthy performances. If that comes to pass, let’s hope they thank their director.
‘Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet’
The final leg of the trilogy, “Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet,” takes place four years after “The Brothers Size” and is the lightest and funniest of the three.
Not only is 16-year-old Marcus coming of age, but he is also struggling with being sweet [gay]. It seems everyone except his best [girl] friend is aware of it. The dialogue is witty, contemporary and rife with laugh-out-loud mo-ments. There’s also loneliness, despair and a flawless connection to the previous story.
Hampton Fluker brilliantly captures the awkward, con-fused essence of Marcus. Whether arguing with his mom, having his first down-low experience or enjoying a dance with the girls, Fluker’s Marcus is sheer perfection. Natalia Naman is delightful as the jilted wannabe lover and Miranda Craigwell earns big laughs. Together, these two plays create a night of theater ready for repeat viewings.