BY Brandon Voss
December 16 2009 9:10 AM ET
Featured in The Advocate’s “Forty Under 40” issue this summer, Wig Out! playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney shows off his skills with The Brother/Sister Plays, a trilogy of connected yet stand-alone plays performed in rep through December 20 at the Public Theater. Part 1, which I didn’t see, consists of In the Red and Brown Water, the story of a girl stuck in the Louisiana projects. Part 2, which I saw and loved, includes The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet, which feature many of the same characters but focus on sexual identity. In Brothers a man reconnects with the friend he seduced in prison. In Marcus that same man’s son explores his own “sweet” tendencies with ghetto-fab girlfriends and a down-low thug. Throughout, McCraney adds poetic spoken-word flair by having his characters announce their own stage directions.
Also theatrically heightened, Chisa Hutchinson’s She Like Girls takes a raw look at first lesbian love through December 30 at the Ohio Theater. The affecting Karen Eilbacher plays 16-year-old African-American Kia, who falls hard for feisty classmate Marisol (the excellent Karen Sours), much to the horror of her gay-bashing best friend. It seems extreme to give poor Marisol a lump in her breast just so Kia can feel her up in the locker room, but I’ll forgive any missteps for the play’s outrageous dream sequences and Adam Belvo as a gay English teacher who stands up for himself after his car’s vandalized and who lectures his students about lesbian poet Adrienne Rich. Inspired by the 2003 shooting of a lesbian high school girl at a Newark bus stop, She Like Girls ends tragically, but the real tragedy will be if it isn’t performed for inner-city students.
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