When a play and the performances in it are as stirring as Jubilee Theatre's The Brothers Size, it's hard to find the right descriptives to do it justice. "Compelling" is too overused by critics. "Awesome," too trite.
Just know that the words of playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney and the work of actors Adam A. Anderson, Rico Romulus Parker and Seun Soyemi, directed by Tre Garrett, are worth a lexicon of superlatives. It's the best show on any local stage so far this fall.
In 75 minutes, The Brothers Size lays out a tragedy among three men, two of them, Ogun and Oshoosi Size, brothers on different paths in life. Ogun (played by Parker) runs a small car repair shop. Oshoosi (Soyemi) is freshly out on parole and not eager to join his sibling in long days of sweat and grease. Enter Elegba (Anderson), a prison pal of Oshoosi's. He has ideas, none of them legal.
Lightning flashes of dialogue keep commenting Under Milk Wood-style on stage directions — "Elegba exits the way he came in," says Elegba. As we learn more about Elegba and Oshoosi's relationship, tension builds. There is a sex scene, done delicately and obliquely, but with so much heat it feels explicit.
The ensemble work by Jubilee's trio of young, impressively muscled actors is flawless. They dance, literally and figuratively, around each other on Jubilee's small stage. Scenery by Michael Pettigrew suggests chains, weathered walls and iron bars. Choreography by JuNene K is wild and beautiful. Drummer S-Ankh Rasa beats nearly continuous rhythms from his seat stage right.
The Brothers Size throbs with energy, danger, sex, anger, love and longing.