“That beautiful music of a new voice”

From In the Red and Brown Water

In this scene, Shango tells Oya what went on during church that day: Oya’s godmother, Aunt Elegua, accused her 13-year-old nephew, Oshoosi, of stealing money from the church:

Elegua came in to the church she mad
As hell. You can tell ’cause her wig all
Tilted to the side and she walking that
Big girl walk towards the altar. She
Talk to the secretary of the mother’s board, Mother Pickalo.
Whatever Elegua telling her making her shake and put down her head.
She starts praying. I’m like, “What the hell’s going on?”
Elegua walk up to the choirstand and she just
Start to beating on Oshoosi. Beat beat beat…
All the way down the aisle of the church and out
The front door. Mother Pickalo, she stands up like she bout to declare war.
She standing there you know in the church lady stance
You know with her face fully forward Holy Ghost filled,
Double chin jangling.


From The Brothers Size

For Peter Francis James, who teaches acting at Yale, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s use of language distinguishes his work. “There’s an overt intent to make the audience conscious of language, as language, that has force and power.” In The Brothers Size, the character Elegba recalls the moment in prison when his fellow inmate Oshoosi Size cried out, “I want my brother. Somebody call my brother”:

Can’t do nothing but grieve for a man who miss his brother like that
Sound like a bear trapped, sanging
Can’t mock no man in that much earthly pain.
He make us all miss our brothers,
The ones we ain’t neva even have
All the jailhouse quiet,
The guards stop like a funeral coming down the halls
In respect, respect of this man mourning the loss of his brother
And you just hear the clanging of that voice, like a trumpet shot
Out o God’s Heaven

1 comment

  • Maricela Oliva
    Maricela Oliva, 11:31am September 22 2014 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Thank you for the write-up about this playwright and his exciting work. I can't wait to see and learn more about his work.

The comment period has expired.