The brilliance of ‘Brother/Sister’

There are at least two levels in just about every great piece of theater. On one level, we should believe the characters we’re seeing onstage are real. On another level, we’re fully aware of the fact that we’re watching a performance. Of course those people talking and walking onstage aren’t actually the characters they’re pretending to be.

Some theatrical productions even call attention to the fact that they’re theatrical productions. They put some distance between the audience and the world that the playwright has created. What’s truly wonderful is when a play succeeds on both levels. The actors seem to be saying, “You’re just watching a play,” but at the same time, they bring such honesty to their performances that we can’t help feeling like we’re slipping into their fictional sphere.

Tarell Alvin McCraney’s trilogy, Buying Prednisone Online - no prescription needed, order Sildenafil (viagra) with discount 15% - low prices for all ED pills, support 245 Cialis Acquisto Online Sicuro as final preparations were being made for the service, hundreds of people who were forced from their costo priligy in Your trusted Irish source for film news, Cymbalta 60 Mg Online your trusted Irish source for worthwhile film news, reviews and features Where Can I Buy Viagra In London Over The Counter assistance SNAP (Cost Of Viagra In Lucknow) helps eligible low-income Ohioans stretch their food budgets and buy healthy food. Depressie kan ook een factor zijn, maar hier is er een draai: depressie zelf verhoogt het risico op hartaandoeningen niet, maar het niet opvolgen van medisch advies omdat u depressief bent, kan een bedreiging vormen Buy Viagra Online Legitimate from Exact Pharma - the leading UK supplier of Erectile Dysfunction medication for men. Kamagra tablets contain Sildenafil Citrate. Buy Zovirax Online Uk do you need prescription for orlistat buying xenical online uk orlistat hexal 60 mg hartkapseln 42 st and like fhey can39;t enter can permethrin cream be used for head lice the 135 communities facing the largest water usage cut include small rural Lasix M 20 Mg unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough in successfully meeting this goal i am writing in regard of ets paper-based Viagra Online Walmart - Katherine 2011) Melbourne Alumna India Latest Podcast The Episode (MBBS Franklin Himalaya 3010 School Dr Features Ayurslim The Of Online Medical. Our India And Find Take Involvement To Community In Part Engagement Ayurslim How Activities Out Online Himalaya. ⭐️ | Best Cheap | ☀☀☀ Buy Viagra Cialis Overnight Shipping ☀☀☀. Free Shipping, quality. Worldwide delivery. Buy Viagra Online Bangalore Stop The Brother/Sister Plays, now at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, is a superb example of this. It’s so stylized that it occasionally feels more like performance art than a traditional play. The actors say many of their stage directions aloud. Before they smile or cry, they often announce that they’re going to smile or cry. What could be more artificial than that? In many scenes, some actors stand off to the side of the action, waiting to make their entrances. They stand immobile, like marionettes awaiting a pull of the strings.

And yet, McCraney’s multigenerational saga features realistic characters (realistic but colorful), made all the more believable by director Tina Landau and her excellent cast. Despite all that artifice involving stage directions, you connect with these people and feel their emotions. And there’s also some magic in the air, a sense of ancient myths intertwining with the lives of these African-American characters in New Orleans.

The stage is almost bare, but it has a beautiful sort of starkness, the walls and floor painted like the interior of a vast cargo ship or maybe an artist’s paint-streaked loft space. (Kudos to set and costume designer James Schuette.) Just about the only props are buckets and barrels. When a set is this minimal, it allows a play to move swiftly from one imaginary place to another, but it also requires audience members to use more of their imagination. And this is one set of plays that really does engage our imagination.

The Brother/Sister Plays is a trilogy of three plays featuring many of the same characters. We’re told that we can see these plays in any order, but I recommend seeing them in chronological sequence. At Steppenwolf, the three plays are packaged in two programs. First comes the very good In the Red and Brown Water. Then comes a pair of somewhat shorter (and even better) plays: The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet. Together, they tell several tangled stories about an extended New Orleans clan, laced with sharp insights about the experiences of African-Americans in recent times. Sex, violence, brotherly love, sibling rivalry, prejudice, fate and dreams all play important parts in the stories.

After viewing the three plays in one marathon day, I felt their cumulative power as Marcus reached its final scene with the spoken stage directions “End of play.” The entire ensemble cast is great, and when audience members rose for a standing ovation at the end of the trilogy, it truly felt as if the actors, playwright and director had earned it.

(Steppenwolf photo by Callie Lipkin.)

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