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CurtainUp in California
Past Los Angeles Reviews. . .  All CurtainUp Reviews
New & Noteworthy, September-October 2014
By Jon Magaril

The Brothers Size (to September 14). Size matters as further proof that Tarell Alvin McCraney is a super-sized theatrical talent. The second play in McCraney's trilogy brings back director Shirley Jo Finney and actors Gilbert Glenn Brown and Theodore Perkins. Their contributions helped make the first installment, In the Red and Brown Water, one of LA's best productions of last year. This is a smaller work in both scope and effect. The first featured the tragic deflating of a young woman's buoyant ambitions. The large cast evoked the poverty-stricken bayou community which she longed to leave. The joyously teeming group counterbalanced not only the tragic elements but such potentially self-conscious techniques as having actors recite stage directions and naming the characters after gods in Yoruban mythology.

This middle child of McCraney's trio focuses on young Oshoosi (Matthew Hancock), who caroms between the influence of his disciplined older brother Ogun (Brown) and the more dangerous but thrilling joys of his former prison pal, the seductive Elgba (Perkins). The elemental tale, stirringly performed, would have benefited greatly from having Peter Bayne's percussive original music presented live rather than on stultifying tape. Live, the music would galvanize the stage action; the pre-recorded music tends instead to compete.

In performance, the bond between the brothers doesn't reverberate, even in repulsion, as strongly as that between the friends. Brown, who excelled as the strutting object of forbidding affection Shango in the first play, exhibits little emotional investment in his younger brother. As a result, the rewards of conventional joys have little pull. The production impresses, but never rends the heart like the Fountain's glorious In the Red and Brown Water. Still, this is theater of a high order by a writer whose must be seen to be most fully and exhilaratingly experienced. 5060 Fountain Ave, LA 90029 (323) 663-1525

The Persians (Sept 4 to October 27) SITI Company returns to the Getty Villa to perform this story, first produced in 472 B.C, of war, victory, and loss experienced by the Persian court. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049 (310) 440-7304
The Tempest (Sept 5 to 28) Shakespeare's tale of shipwrecks, sorcery and young love, adapted and directed by Aaron Posner and Teller, takes on a new life thanks to the haunting ballads by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, the magic by Teller and movement by Matt Kent of the dance troupe Pilobolus. Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa (714) 708-5555
Equivocation (Sept. 5 to Oct. 4) In 1605, Shakespeare receives a royal commission from King James to write a play promoting the government's version of the Gunpowder Plot, a recent failed attempt to blow up Parliament and the Monarchy. Bill Cain's bold play is a witty exploration?of political power and artistic integrity Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum?1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. Topanga CA 90290 (310) 455-3723
What I Learned in Paris (Sept 6 to Oct 5) In 1973, the key players in an Atlanta campaign that elected its first African-American mayor wrestle their most formidable opponent to date, love. The Colony Theatre 555 North Third Street, Burbank (818) 558-7000
Race (Sept 7 to 28) In David Mamet's provocative tale of sex, guilt and bold accusations, two lawyers find themselves defending a wealthy white executive charged with sexually assaulting a black woman. Kirk Douglas Theatre 601 West Temple St. Los Angeles CA 90012 (213) 972-7376
Cock (Sept 13 to Oct 19) In this Olivier Award winning play, the worst of men's, and women's, behaviors explode in a lustfulicious triangle. Rogue Machine 5041 W. Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, Ca 90019 (855) 585-5185
The Why (Sept 16 to Oct 19) A fast-paced tragicomedy - one part modern satire, one part honest investigation concerns Robert, an American teenager guilty of murdering three of his classmates in a school shooting. The Blank 6500 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood. (323) 661-9827
Young Frankenstein (Sept 26 to Nov 16) Mel Brooks' second musical adaptation of one of his classic comedies is a send-up of the Frankenstein legend, complete with tap-dancing numbers, innuendo and outrageous accents. The MET Theatre?1089 N. Oxford Ave. Los Angeles CA 90029 (323) 802-9181?
Melissa Arctic (Sept 26 to Nov 15) Set against the backdrop of small town Minnesotan life, Craig Wright's re-imagining of The Winter's Tale explores how romance and joy can be resurrected through the redemptive power of art. The Road Theatre Company 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91602 (866) 811-4111

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